Dental Infection Control Standards

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COVID-19 has made significant adjustments to all medical fields. This is an acute respiratory infection that has a high rate of contamination. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue, and dry cough. It's spread by airborne way and, therefore, requires high control level. Effective preventive measures include frequent hand washing and abidance of the respiratory hygiene rules.

Infection control is a list of measures that are used in medical institutions to prevent viruses and diseases.

In dental practice, as in any other medical practice, there is a risk of transmission of the infection from the patient to the medical staff, as well as between patients. The number of viruses and infections is growing every day, so the problem of infection control is of high importance. Each dental clinic should have an established standard set of measures in case the patient is infected.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), together with other official institutions, establish standards for effective control. OSHA regulates occupational health and safety at work, while CDC provides guidance on all aspects of hygiene, including health and safety standards for healthcare providers. Dental management, striving to ensure the health of employees and patients, must take into account the standards and norms of these structures.

  • Administrative measures: staff responsibility for the implementation and implementation of the program; continuous modernization in accordance with new requirements and developments; revision of standard activities if necessary
  • Aseptic and antiseptic: identification of possible sources of cross infection in workrooms; development of a unified methodology for infection control during work, as well as disinfection of the cabinet after receiving a patient
  • General principles of labor protection: approval of a standard list of measures to prevent the spread of infection; there should be a reminder of infection control measures in the office
  • Hygienic training of personnel: provision of personal protective equipment and training in the methods of their use; training personnel in the basics of infection control; protection of hands, face and mucous membranes of the eyes (gloves, masks, protective shields, waxes); written certificate confirming the qualifications of the staff in infection control issues

In accordance with OSHA requirements, an effective infection control program at a dental clinic should include infection prevention measures.

Today, every dentist knows that during the provision of dental care, microorganisms located in the oral cavity can contribute to the onset and further development of infection. That is why high-quality disinfection and subsequent sterilization of all working components of the treatment process are the most important aspects of the nosocomial infections prevention.

Thermal sterilization of dental tips after each patient is required. To increase the reliability of sterilization, contaminated instruments must be soaked and cleaned of visible contamination. When mechanically cleaning tools, personnel should wear heavy rubber gloves to prevent accidental injury. Then the instruments are cleaned in an ultrasonic bath or a disinfection sink for dental instruments.

OSHA standards provide a minimum requirement for infection control. In addition, the CDC also offers a number of recommendations:

  • vaccination of personnel of dental medical institutions, the introduction of recommendations for infection control in clinical practice;
  • the use of personal protective equipment - gloves, masks, bathrobes and glasses;
  • treatment and care of the skin of the hands, cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in the office, disinfection treatment in dental laboratories, use and care of nozzles, use of disposable tools, disposal of used consumables.

Particular attention of dental personnel should be given to the prevention of infections that can be transmitted through the blood (hepatitis B, HIV), as well as by airborne droplets.

An effective measure for the prevention of hepatitis B is the use of vaccines: vaccinations are recommended for all employees who come into contact with blood or blood contaminated materials. One of the very important measures of infectious precaution is the hygiene of hands of all medical staff. It should be remembered that regular washing of hands with antiseptic soap by the medical staff of the dental clinic provides primary antimicrobial protection for both staff and their patients.

Don’t forget that some recommended measures and methods of infection control undergo changes over time. Therefore, all dentists should constantly and timely consult with relevant organizations on the issue of current recommendations and rules.