Re: new dentist concerns (hygiene)
Washing hands in-between changing gloves is a must, since the act of removing the used, contaminated gloves will contaminate the dentist's hands, and thus the new pair of gloves. Also, gloves are not perfect and a certain percent do have minute holes in them.
What is standard practice depends on the state. In CA, these laws are very strict, including protective eyewear and changing masks between patients. It may be that the dentist is doing so in a separate room designed for this purpose. If not, the fact that they appeared to take their own safety (eyewear/masks/gloves) lightly would concern me as a patient, since this attitude may carry over into other things you don't see. For example, are they spore-testing their autoclaves weekly to be sure that instruments are actually being sterilized? Are the instruments bagged when you are seated at the chair and then opened? Are all handles on the equipment (chairs, lights, x-rays, switches of any kind) covered with protective plastic and changed between each patient? If not, then this may place patients in danger. And what about their water lines? Are they being flushed for 2 minutes between patients as required? Are the hand-pieces being heat sterilized?
I would suggest checking with your local dental society and/or state board of dental examiners (consumer affairs) to find out if these practices are acceptable in your state). You are absolutely right to observe and raise these questions.
Last edited by mod85; 02-24-2012 at 08:33 AM.