Infection Control: Preventing the Transmission of Disease-Producing Agents in Dental Practice

inside a dental clinicInfection control is important in dental practice to prevent the spread of disease-producing agents such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria from one person to another. Every dental practitioner must fully understand the basic principles of infection control. For this reason, all dentists must have clear procedural documentation, understand dental protocols, and make sure that effective infection control measures are in place.

Dental Waterline

Start by testing the dental water quality and waterline. Though there have been no cases of health problems associated with dental unit water quality, it’s still advisable to do waterline testing. This is because potentially contaminated water can place patients and dental staff at unnecessary risk.

Most dental unit waterlines have biofilm that acts as a reservoir of microbial contamination. It may also be a source of known pathogens. So, you must disinfect your dental waterline in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual.

Management of Sharp Instruments

The practice of dentistry usually involves the use of sharp equipment. Poor visibility, inappropriate handling of sharp objects, and other circumstances can cause penetrating injury among staff that can lead to possible exposure to blood borne diseases. So, you must have a clear set of written instructions for every staff member if such incident occurs.

Single-Use Equipment

Don’t reprocess dental tools such as local anesthetic needles and cartridges. Items that are very small and sharp are difficult to clean, so they’re also considered as single-use. Unless you employ a validated and safe cleaning process to these instruments, you can’t reprocess them.

Disposal of Dental Waste

Separate waste according to its category: medical or non-medical. You should appropriately label them, and if possible, color code every bag and container use for medical waste. Store medical waste securely for final disposal.

Work Areas

The design and layout of the dental surgery area are critical factors in implementing effective infection control. Your work area must be well ventilated and well lit with easily cleaned bench space to lodge necessary dental instruments.

In dental practice, microorganisms and diseases can spread by either direct contact or via equipment. Make sure to implement infection control procedures and practices to maintain and enhance health and safety.