Controlling Infection in Your Dental Practice

Infection not only spreads in hospitals, but also in dental practices. Constant exposure to all sorts of patients and possibly infected medical tools places dental staff and patients in close contact with pathogens, especially those found in blood.

disposable dental supplies

All sorts of airborne and communicable diseases could be present in your dental office and can spread to patients and staff. This is why it’s important to take the necessary steps, from regular cleaning to the use of various disposable dental supplies, to effectively control and prevent the spread of such within the confines of your space.

Modes of Transmission

There are many possible ways infection can spread in your dental practice. These include direct contact with oral fluids, blood, or other patient materials, and droplet contact—which happens when a person sneezes or coughs on another person.

Diseases can also spread through the inhalation of “evaporated bacteria” that remains airborne for extended periods. Indirect contact with contaminated objects, such as dental supplies, instruments, and equipment, environmental surfaces, or a staff’s contaminated hands can also spread infection.

The Urge

The American Dental Association (ADA) highly recommends that dental practitioners, auxiliaries, and laboratories employ all applicable infection control procedures in their practice, following the standard precautions described in ADA’s guidelines for infection control. The organization also encourages dental professionals to keep themselves informed about the latest studies that can improve infection control and risk and disease management in oral health care.

Employing the Standard Precautions

Make sure to clean and contaminate all surfaces, including the dental chair, drawer handles, countertops, instrument trays, and dental light before any patient enters the examination room. You can cover these equipment and surfaces with protective covers, which you need to replace after each patient. Clean and sterilize non-disposable items between appointments and throw disposable dental items properly after use. Provide your staff with protective garb, including masks, gowns, gloves, and eyewear.

Don’t compromise the safety of your staff and patients. Employ the proper infection control procedures in your practice and provide the best care.