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How Can Dentists Use Plastics to Protect Patients?

In this era of COVID-19, protecting patients is more crucial than ever. Although patients may come into the facility for services wearing a mask, what happens when it’s time for them to sit in the chair? There are a few things dental offices and dentists can do to protect themselves and their patients, such as wearing plastic face shields.

What are plastic face shields?

Plastic face shields help provide barriers between the dentist and patient. Although the actual face shield is made of plastic, these shields are designed to prevent the spread of infection. They are cleaned and disinfected on a continuous basis to maintain the integrity of the shield.

Face shields are a good solution for dentists because they don’t have to be touched while working with the patient. Additionally, they don’t itch like face masks do, which also works as a preventative measure against touching the face. Tru-Form Plastics are a leader in this area.

What’s so special about Tru-Form Plastics?

Tru-Form face shields are lightweight, allowing consistent motion and the ability to see multiple patients at a time. The face shield does not fog, and the smaller foam pad adds an additional layer of ventilation. Tru-Form’s plastic is also more than twice as thick as other face shields on the market, creating a more durable shield to work with. The shields come in 3 different options: standard, deluxe, and industrial.

These shields are constructed with PETG material, mentioned as one of the best materials for face shields by the FDA. PETG does not break down in UV light, providing a much longer shelf life than shields made with PVC or other materials. Tru-Form Plastics uses the thermoforming process, which is heating a thermoplastic sheet until it is soft enough to stretch over a mold where it cools and solidifies into a desired shape for use.

How are diseases and infections transferred in a dental office?

There are a number of ways diseases and infections can be transferred. This includes by direct contact or droplets of blood and saliva. Additionally, if tools and areas touched by the dental professionals are not properly sanitized, this increases the likelihood of infection.

Safety is the first priority

Using plastics in dental offices helps reduces the risk of exposure, transference of germs and infection for employees and patients. Barriers, or Sani-Shields work to protect office workers while remaining compliant with social distancing guidelines where high traffic is the norm. Lightweight and easy to install, each shield is customizable.

Face shields are for protection against spray and splatter without interfering with line of sight. Additionally, face shields should be large enough to protect the face and head. Since these are reused, proper care and cleaning procedures should be implemented. This involves using surface disinfectant wipes and other solutions approved by the manufacturer.

Dental health workers are deemed high risk, so proper PPE is key. That means covering all dental tools and disinfecting them on a continuous basis. This may also involve keeping them in protective covers until used. Cleaning face shields away from patients will also help in alleviating the spread of germs.

To find out more about how Tru-Form Plastics can be beneficial in protecting your dental office, contact our team today!

Tru-Form Featured in KCAL News

Tru-Form Plastics Featured on CBS News in Los Angeles

In case you missed it, Tru-Form Plastics was featured on the news! We were fortunate to share our story behind our shift during the production of plastic face shields for medical workers and staff working on the frontlines. We’re now producing over 100,000 per day, working 24-hour shifts, 6 days a week, We are excited to be ramping up production even more!

Tru-Form Plastics Goode for Smart Industry

Pivoting to Mass Produce PPE for Frontlines Medical Professionals, By Jim Goode, American Innotek

To help address the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as hospitals, businesses and communities aim to protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, many companies across the country have taken tremendous initiatives to pivot their businesses to develop and produce masks and shields by the thousands. These producers range from businesses who already manufactured medical equipment (like ours) to companies whose typical function is way outside of the medical device space (like Nike).

Jim Goode, President of American Innotek

Regardless of the magnitude of new PPE producing processes, making this change requires organizational agility in order to support the production of a new product, maintain demands for typical business functions and ensure the employees needed for production are taken care of in a global pandemic. At Tru-form Plastics, we added staff to support a 6-day work week and produce more than 100,000 face shields per day. Here are some of the lessons we’ve taken from that shift.

Listen to Health Professionals

When our engineering & tooling manager, Ed Hentges, was approached to develop a PPE shortage solution, he immediately got with the director of the supply chain at a local hospital to brainstorm the face shield. Once an original prototype was designed, he went to the hospital to work directly with doctors and nurses and made adjustments until a workable solution was in place. Rather than making assumptions or waiting for delays by mailing the mask, he was able to quickly design the best solution with hands-on feedback, which allowed us to go from concept to the production line in just a few days.

Nimble Staffing Decisions

To support mass production of a new product – on top of existing manufacturing needs – it’s important to ensure flexibility in staffing decisions. For us, this included the addition of more than 60 temporary workers in our Southern California facilities. We are also fortunate to have an amazing workforce who were also willing to be flexible with their schedules as we added new shifts to allow for 24-hour production, 6 days per week. 

While it’s one thing for your business to have flexibility, it’s also essential to empower your employees to have more flexibility to meet these needs, especially in the context of a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Beyond asking for availability to adjust schedules for our new shifts, we are also asking employees to be away from their families, which could create challenges for parents with no school or daycare options. To address this, we established an on-site daycare that is free for our employees. Of course, this requires many best practices to ensure responsible social distancing, and the end-result is a great solution for the kids to enjoy safe, outside stimulation while parents are working. 

Prioritize Additional Work Functions

While it would be great to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing PPE needs, businesses always have other responsibilities to their existing customers. Businesses can redistribute their talent in a strategic way to ensure essential priorities are still adequately staffed even though the additional production of PPE is underway. 

Our Brief Relief urine bags and Disposa-John solid waste bags remain in high demand as the military stocks up to create a safe and healthy place for people to use the bathroom as it prepares field hospitals to help with the COVID-19 outbreak. With that in mind, we’ve made every effort to ensure those lines don’t see any reduction in staffing and resources – creating quality products on every line running in the plant.

 

Jim Goode is the president of American Innotek, the parent company of Tru-Form Plastics. 

Tru-Form Plastics Now Manufacturing Face Shields

Tru-Form Plastics is pleased to put its 30+ years of plastic thermoforming experience into providing face shields to the medical industry. We collaborated with doctors and nurses to design this face shield to their specific requirements. For more information regarding face shields for medical workers, please contact us at: 714-894-5566.
Face Shield Data Sheet

COVID-19 Face Shield Datasheet
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