Pre-rinsing before dental procedures? Yes, please!

Written by Heather Siler

Do you have patients pre-rinse before each dental procedure? If not, it may be time to add this simple step to the appointment because it greatly reduces cross-contamination of harmful microbes. Today, we’ll discuss who, what, and why rinsing right before treatment is beneficial.

Who- The patient being treated should rinse with an antimicrobial product for 30 seconds before the procedure. By swishing beforehand, the number of microorganisms present in the mouth is reduced thus decreasing the number of contaminants entering the patient’s bloodstream. Furthermore, the treatment site heals better and with fewer complications.

What- During any procedure in a dental office, splatter and aerosols come out of the patient’s mouth and contaminate everything and everybody in the treatment room.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that utilizing antimicrobial pre-rinses decrease the level of microbes. The CDC also recommends at least one of the following ingredients in the mouthwash to diminish contaminants:

  • Chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Povidone Iodine
  • Alcohol and essential oils
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride

Why- The amount of aerosol that comes out of the patient's mouth while drilling, power scaling, polishing, and using any other aerosol producing instrument is astounding. This aerosol contains harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, and biofilm that contaminates everything and everyone in its path. Providing mouthwash beforehand significantly reduces the number of harmful contaminants for the patient and the clinicians.

Providing mouthwash before treatment is extremely cost-effective and simple. It may seem like one more thing to add to the appointment, but the benefit far outweighs the minimal time and effort.