By Dr Muattar Hanif
With the surge of COVID-19, the government has imposed restrictions and even imposed smart lockdown in many cities of Pakistan. Amidst all this chaos, many dental health professionals kept open their practices, while others opted for specific timings to cater to emergency cases only. But the impact of COVID-19 has affected a significant proportion of dental fraternity, and they decided to close their practices for the time being. The reason can be attributed to either the extreme low flow of patients, a clinic located in ‘hot areas’ for COVID-19, inability to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and even financial limitations. Hence with clinics closed, a significant setback was faced by many dental practitioners. However, this can also be an excellent time to perform routine maintenance that your clinic was needing. The neglected equipment can be given new life and will be available for use again, once lockdown shuns.
Dental equipment is manufactured with their usage in mind. Hence they are specified to work for longer hours and high frequency of function. Many materials, when are left idle or not cared poorly, tends to waste and might create hurdle in performance.
So to keep the machinery of your clinic working efficiently, here are some steps to follow:
Pivotal steps to take
The first thing to make sure is that you drain your sterilizer. Many sterilizers usually have drain valves, which enables it to remove the water from the reservoir. If your sterilizer doesn’t have any such feature, then you can use the dental vacuum (high-volume evacuation) to empty the water reservoir.
It is also strongly recommended that before shutting the clinic down, make sure that the lines are dry and do not have moisture in it. If the humidity persists, then it can lead to stagnancy and hence grow bio-film. You can also use chemicals to clean the draining pipes or ask maintenance experts to guide you well. Closed down your municipal water supply to a minimum the risk of water or humidity presence. At times, leaking pipes, sinks, toilets or any other plumbing can create a pool of water, hence leading to flooding and extensive damage.
If you have a digital facility at your clinic, make sure that you also shut down servers. Though many IT experts recommend the running of servers etc. but it can lead to unnecessary electricity consumption and an increase in internet bills.
Make sure that all electronic devices are shut off and unplugged to reduce the risk of short circuit and fire. Also, it’s a great way to conserve power, though many types of equipment work on rechargeable batteries. But still one should be particularly careful about them as they can be linked to fires.
Don’t forget to check your compressor. Compressors can become dysfunctional if they’re sitting idle for a prolonged period. Hence, they should also be run for 10 to 15 minutes at least once a week.
In the end, it’s always a good idea to check your clinic now and then or at least once a week to make sure that things are alright. The security of the clinic is an ultimate priority, so don’t forget to double-check locks.
Visiting dental practice can also give you a chance to step outside the home. It can also help in your emotional and mental stability since staying indoor for long has its setbacks.
In times like these, it’s essential to get in touch with your fellow dental practitioners and communicate with them. Discuss the ways they are working to preserve their practice and share your insights too. It a universal fact that difficult times can only be managed when people share their pain and sorrow.