Continuing the series of articles from around the world, Claudio Sorrentino reviews a day in the life of his practice in Buenos Aires. We offer a wide range of dental procedures designed to restore, maintain and transform patient´s smiles with a very personal approach. This small and cosy clinic is located between the Palermo and Recoleta neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The team consists of three dentists in total, Dr. Nicolás Maturano specialising in endodontist and implants and I focus on restorative, preventive and cosmetic treatments. We also have a dental assistant who works with all the dentists to help deliver treatment and prepare the surgeries for patients.

Even though the practice officially opens at 10 AM, we usually start at 8 AM to provide time for busy patients. Throughout our office we employ the latest dental equipment available on the market, with cutting edge technology maximizing effectiveness and safety of treatment, as well as efficiency of our daily processes. We are currently in the process of acquiring a new dental microscope to provide even better service to our patients.

On average, practices in Argentina probably see around 20 patients a day. The biggest challenge faced by dental professionals here is to be able to provide the best possible dentistry within a medical system that puts many demands on practitioners and their affiliates. The main problem we have to overcome when working within the medical and dental plans available is working with lots of patients in little time and sometimes with poor materials, without compromising on quality of care provided. In our country, the professional is also responsible for all treatment delivered for up to three years after completion, so if any clinical issues arise from a procedure in this time, we are obligated to offer a solution at no extra cost.

All patients at our practice pay privately for their dental care, but some dental plans can subsidise a proportion of the costs, which people would receive as an annual reimbursement. Dental treatment in Argentina is quite expensive due to a high percentage of imported materials.

At Dental Palermo, we are unique in that we strive to provide a more personalized service in a friendlier environment. To this end, we usually book no more than five appointments per day, which give us the time to conduct complete examinations and give each patient our undivided attention. We see only private patients who really appreciate the effort and time we dedicate to ensuring a great dental patient experience with safe and state of the art facilities.

Infection control. We use a combination of physical and chemical processes in order to ensure high standards of disinfection. All instruments are transported from the surgery in a stainless steel tray and placed in a container with water and two percent glutaraldehyde for 20 minutes before being used.

After use, instruments are taken to the decontamination room where they are manually scrubbed, rinsed, dried and bagged, before transferred to the clean area. The professional who packages the instruments is responsible for witnessing and ensuring the effectiveness of sterilization cycle within the computerized vacuum autoclave. We also have two washer desinfectors and ultrasound equipment that we use throughout the decontamination procedure.

Disposable items and deposited in biohazard containers are disposed of by a company that specifically handles these wastes. Dental assistants and dentists can perform any of these tasks. We try to minimize cross infection and environmental surface contamination with surfaces barriers for the digital X-ray sensor, triple syringe waterline, home-volume evacuator, saliva evacuators and head rest covers.

All dental units are cleaned with disinfectant wipes between patients and at the end of the day. We comply with all regulations set by the American Dental Association and the Centre for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention guidelines (CDC). Thus, we only use consumable products and brands that have been approved by the CDC, as well as disposable gloves for all clinical professionals and other protective clothing like face masks and googles.

Patient awareness. At the practice we work with a mixture of local and international patients, who are mostly from West Europe and the United States. More and more people request clear and concise information about our sterilization and biosecurity measures at the clinics we are more than happy to explain any and every process. Each month, we send a newsletter informing patients about technological advances at the practice, as well as any general developments or news from within dentistry so that they receive a top quality service and remain informed of any changes.