Face masks are personal protective gear (PPE) that is recommended by the CDC for use during dental appointments. Wearing a face mask to cover your nose and mouth during procedures to prevent contamination and the spread of germs from the likelihood of splashing and spraying blood or and other bodily fluids is critical. However, the protection of the mask is only present when worn correctly. Therefore, your dental practice marketing professionals at Bryant Consultants are sharing some good face mask habits to implement at your dental office.
Wear Your Mask Right-Side-Up and Right-Side-Out
There are several manufacturers of masks, so it could be confusing about the appropriate way a mask should fit. First, check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are wearing the cover correctly. Dental face masks have three separate layers: the fluid-resistant outer layer, the filtrating middle layer, and the protective inner layer. The inner and outer layers are specifically designed for their function, and are, therefore, not interchangeable. Also, dental masks should follow the natural curves of your facial structure. Any gaps between the edge of the mask and your skin are areas where contaminants can sneak in, so it is critical to wear your mask with the pleats face down like a waterfall and snug against your skin along the outer edges.
Don (Put On) Your Mask Correctly
A standard error people make when putting on their mask is looping it around their ears first. However, before securing your mask to your ears, use your thumb to make a slight indentation or divot in the nose piece. Use your index and middle finger to mold the nose piece across the bridge of your nose. The contoured fit protects the most common contaminated area of a clinician’s face. Then, loop each side around your ear. Finally, extend the mask to fully cover your mouth and chin without extending it so much the folds flatten. If you wear eyeglasses, remove them before putting on your mask, and put them back on once your mask is securely in place.
Do Not Twist the Ear Loops
Some clinicians have a smaller facial structure making it feel as if the mask is not tight enough to keep out contaminates. The typical resolution to the problem is twisting the ear loops into figure eights to shorten them. Twisting the loops brings the mask material up to the nose and mouth. The condensation from breathing wets the inner lining of the mask and causes a process called “wicking” that results in the fibers in the mask material to swell. Unfortunately, wicking weakens the protection level of the mask, disturbing the efficiency of filtering microbes. Using a Secure Fit mask will provide the custom fit needed by those who have a smaller facial frame.
Doff (Take Off) Your Mask Correctly
Just as there is a correct way to put on a face mask, there is a proper way to remove one. Most people touch the mask itself, increasing the risk of contamination from the outer layer of the mask, which may contain aerosols, viruses, saliva, or blood. The proper way to remove a face mask is to put your fingers underneath each of the ear loops near your ear lobes and pull straight down. Then, lift the mask off and away from your face and immediately dispose of it in the trash. Do not touch the outer layer of the mask, and do not wear a used ask outside of treatment areas to prevent cross-contamination. Also, wash your hands with soap or use an alcohol-based sanitizer immediately after you have removed the mask.
Dental Practice Marketing Professionals
Protecting yourself, your staff, and your clients are vital to the success of your dental practice. By properly wearing PPE the correct way, you could prevent the spread of germs and diseases. Also, if you aren’t sure which PPE gear is right for your staff, or want to find out the differences between different mask types, contact our dental practice consultants. If you would like to learn more or schedule a complimentary one-hour consultation, please contact Bryant Consultants by calling (877) 768-4799. We provide consultation, training, and coaching and will continue to post relevant updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure that you receive the latest updates, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.