In a time when patient safety and infection control are highlighted by a global pandemic, some dentists are still hesitant to use infection control barriers on their curing lights. While using barriers can require adjustments by the clinician (and have drawbacks, such as a dip in light output), proper application helps protect patients while minimizing issues experienced by the clinician.
Dr. Brett Richins, DDS, is one of many practicing clinicians and researchers making these kinds of decisions when trying to prevent cross-contamination, as well as deliver quality results. He sat down to answer a few questions about using barrier sleeves for his VALO™ X curing light.
Question: What helped you get into the habit of using barrier sleeves?
Answer: For me it was easy to create this habit by informing my assistants that it was needed for every procedure. Once my assistants knew that this was the expectation it is on auto pilot and never requires any thought or effort on my part.
Question: What benefits do you feel barrier sleeves offer?
Answer: The sleeves keep the VALO light clean and new looking for much longer. No composite or bond gets onto the light body or lens. It also adds extra comfort for patients to physically see a reminder of the infection control protocols and procedures we have in our office.
Question: Do you think barrier sleeves will ever be as commonly used as something like rubber gloves?
Answer: Yes, barrier sleeves will become the standard if they aren't already. In my office they already are. Not just on the VALO light. We have barrier sleeves on keyboards, mouse devices, and high-touch areas of the operatory. This should be the norm for infection control.
Question: Is there anything about barrier sleeves that needs to be improved in the future (regarding usefulness)?
Answer: I think cost and ease of use are certainly on the mind of any dentist considering barrier sleeves. The more affordable, the better. In my opinion they save money by protecting the VALO light. If the sleeve is difficult to put on or is too loose and slides around it can make a doctor not want to use them. I feel like VALO barrier sleeves are easy to place and fit well enough that I really don't think about it while using the light. I've used them for so long that using a curing light without a barrier sleeve would feel just as strange to me as starting treatment without gloves.
Barrier sleeves for the VALO curing lights mitigate power reduction without compromising infection control. You can not only improve the longevity of your device by employing sleeves, but also reassure patients that their safety is a top priority. Barrier sleeves are available for VALO™, VALO™ Grand, and VALO X lights.