With infection control in the news, a group of prominent dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants have come together to form a new coalition called Support Clean Dentistry (SCD).
The following is the coalition's mission:
- Translate dental care standards into easy-to-understand information for patients.
- Teach patients about infection-control standards and what to expect during a dental visit.
- Empower dental patients to communicate with their dental care professional and express their expectations about their dental visit.
- Encourage dental professionals to outline and explain the infection prevention and control practices they use, and invite the patient to ask questions and participate in the process.
Sheri Doniger, DDS, Support Clean Dentistry advisory board member and a DrBicuspid.com columnist, said in an interview that the coalition's objective is twofold.
"We are trying to educate our patients about why infection control is important to them and why it matters," she said. "We are also trying to translate the 'dental speak' terminologies, such as infection control or autoclave. These are important concepts we need to translate to our patients."
To bring this message to dental professionals and the general public, the coalition introduced its first social media campaign late last week. The coalition released three "humorous" Web videos, which are available on www.SupportCleanDentistry.com and also on the coalition's social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The coalition's first campaign is called the Cold-Hearted Bib Chain. This multifaceted social media campaign includes three videos, animated gifs, and other visuals that in a funny and exaggerated way portray interactions between patients and a hygienist as the hygienist tries to attach a dental napkin around the patient's neck using a traditional bib chain.
Each character, played by improvisational comedians, highlights emotions commonly seen among dental patients and the somewhat challenging situations dental professionals have to handle on a daily basis. The reactions range from sheer fear to relentless squirming to the sharing of too much information.
"The message of the video is to encourage patients to ask their dentist for a disposable bib clip to avoid the cross contamination of germs," advisory board member Noel Kelsh RDHAP, stated in a press release.
"But the point is that patients can, and should, ask the dentist or hygienist about anything that concerns them. Whether you want to request they change gloves after touching a counter or to ask about how something was cleaned, the patient should feel empowered to talk about it," Kelsh said.
Another aim is to educate everyone of the need for personal protection in the dental office, Dr. Doniger said.
"Thinking about little things we can do, like using a disposable bib clip, only using autoclave bags once, and discussing all the infection-control procedures we perform in the office, I believe this will allay fears from some patients reticent to show up to dental visits," she said.
"I don't want to give a patient any excuse to be concerned about the cleanliness of my office and to use that as an excuse not to come in for their dental care," she continued. "We do so many things naturally that patients do not realize we are doing, such as hand washing and properly taking instruments out of the autoclave bag. We should start talking about those small procedures while we are doing them to let patients know what is truly going on in their care."
Doniger said that she hopes the campaign leaves dentists with some take-away messages. "Keep it clean," she said. "Do more show and tell. Take time to discuss with your patients why we do what we do to protect their health."
DUX Dental currently supports the coalition's operational costs and all advisory board members volunteer their time.