Disinfecting Our San Mateo Dental Office

To prevent infections from Covid 19 during the current pandemic, our office will be using Hypochlorus Acid (HOCL) foggers to sterilize the treatment rooms, the circulating air, the staff and the Dr. Widely used in industry to safely sterilize fruits, vegetables, meat and processed foods, the FDA and EPA has approved it for use since 2008. To make the food safe and free of bacteria and viruses, the HOCL is sprayed on and left there to dry without the need to rinse. HOCl is a natural antibacterial agent that is produced by human as white blood cells target pathogens within the body. It is so safe that if your baby’s pacifier falls on the floor, you can spray it with hypochlorous acid, wait a short period of time and give it back to the baby.

Whereas conventional disinfectants can be quite toxic and scary, hypochlorous acid is not. The bodies of all mammals produce hypochlorous acid as a means of fighting off pathogens. It has a neutral pH, so it doesn’t harm skin or clothing. In fact, it is a constituent of human and veterinary medications, including opthalmic.

Previously, Dr. Wong used toxic chemicals like glutaraldehyde, chlorine bleach and alcohol based products in his office to disinfect and sterilize the dental office equipment and surfaces. Care had to be used as these products are harmful to humans as well as the bugs they were killing. HOCL is similar to bleach, but not the same. It is virtually odorless, leaves no residue and is 10 times stronger.

Now with the airborne properties of Covid 19, infection control in the dental office is a monumental problem. Current CDC guidelines recommend that dentists and staff completely cover themselves in full surgical room attire from head to toe when seeing a patient for treatment that will produce aerosols. Those procedures are the most common, from fillings and crowns to dental cleanings. The guidelines also state that the complete attire has to be discarded and new set put on before the next patient. In addition, the room has to be sterilized from top to bottom. Some offices are even installing elaborate vacuum and air filtration systems to handle the aerosols produced.

Finding HOCL through colleagues in the Crown Council (dental organization), it’s use seems to be the “silver bullet” to effectively, efficiently and safely sterilizing rooms and keep staff safe. Using a ULV (ultra low volume) fogger, rooms can be thoroughly sterilized in 3 minutes and clinical staff can be “fogged” in between patients to minimize the need to “gown up and down” constantly. That is also a problem for dentists because the PPE required in order to comply is simply not available in the quantities to make this possible. Dr. Wong is concerned that most dentists will not be able to comply with the CDC rules.

In Japan, according to a CNN article, they are misting hypochlorous on people as a means of helping control the spread of the Covid 19 virus. It is also currently being used widely in Korea to disinfect their clinics. It will soon be used by all industries such as commercial airline disinfection, cruise ships, and even the hospital ship Comfort in New York.

“The beauty of HOCL is that it reverts back to water and an imperceptible amount of salt pretty quickly, so this is why you can hand the baby its pacifier back and we can fog ourselves and be confident that we can see our next patient. I feel confident that we can once again treat my patients safely, my staff is protected and I can go home to my family without worrying about bringing home Covid 19.”