Infection control in the oral health care industry is imperative to the secure, compelling treatment of patients within the dental office. It alludes to the measures a clinic takes before, during, and after any dental procedures to guarantee a patient is safe and healthy.
As a healthcare provider, dental practitioners have a lawful, ethical, and moral commitment to secure patients and staffs from getting infected.
Standard precautions are a set of practices utilized to anticipate transmission of infections that can be procured by contact with blood, body fluids & mucous membranes, etc. These measures are to be utilized when giving care to the patients whether infectious or not.
1. Hand Hygiene:
This is the foremost significant protective measure against infection control recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for dental professionals. It should be performed before and after contact with the patient, quickly after touching blood, body fluids (even when gloves are worn) and after touching instruments, etc.
2. Personal Protective Measures:
It includes surgical gown, foot cover, gloves, face mask, face shield that are effective to prevent the disease transmission inside the clinic. Gloves & surgical gown frame a satisfactory obstruction and avoid the passage of microorganisms from the patient’s bodily fluids. Similarly, Mask & face shields are exceedingly compelling against anticipating the transmission of air-borne contamination.
3. Use of Rubber Dam:
Rubber dam isolation essentially minimizes the generation of blood and body fluids contaminated aerosol, especially in the case when high-speed handpiece and scalers are used.
4. Use of handpiece with Anti-retraction Valve:
The dental handpiece without an anti-retraction valve may aspirate the bodily fluids during dental procedures which may further contaminate the airline and water line. Hence, the use of a handpiece with an anti-retraction valve is strongly recommended to prevent cross-contamination and especially during the epidemic period of COVID-19.
5. Cleaning & Disinfection:
The seating area of a dental clinic may have possibly contaminated surfaces or objects that are regularly touched by patients. These ought to be cleaned routinely with EPA enlisted disinfectants.
The dental chair, dental light, small equipment like scaler, light cure unit, endo motor, apex locator, etc. should be wiped with disinfectant after the procedure.
The sterilization process guarantees that all micro-organisms, vegetative spores, and viruses on the surface of used dental instruments are destroyed, hence lessening the chances of cross-infection. The steps to effective sterilization include:
- Disinfecting the instruments with an ultrasonic cleaner
- Packaging the instruments guarantees satisfactory sterile capacity until reused.
- Sterilization in a B Class autoclave with a vacuum cycle for most effective sterilization.
- Storage of sterilized instruments in a UV chamber to avoid contamination.
7. Medical waste management:
The waste produced during dental procedures should be safely disposed in leak-proof, closable, and labeled with biohazard symbols to ensure that these waste should not be a source of contamination for the patient, dental practitioner, and staff.
The main purpose of these safety standards is to anticipate and control contamination. The dental professionals are entrusted with the security of their patients & staff working in the same dental clinic. In this manner, they ought to plan a comprehensive process to minimize contamination transmission and to form a secure air for their patients and staffs