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Hepatitis C confirmed to be transmitted in a dental practice



The events in Tulsa, OK have definitely raised questions once again about infection control procedures within a dental practice.   For the first time in history, a case of Hepatitis C was confirmed to be transmitted in a dental practice.   While it is easy for many in the profession to distance themselves from the office in question, it does raise awareness both in the public and private sector.  Now is a perfect time to revisit your infection control procedures in the office so that your patients and your team are confident that choosing your office ensures that proper protocol is followed.   For a list of questions for discussion at your next team meeting, please visit 

Top 10 areas to discuss with your team for consistency in infection control practices

1. Are single use items only being used once?
2. What is our office protocol for hand hygiene?
3. What is the proper use of gloves for each procedure and with each patient?
4. How do we inspect broken, rusted, or malfunctioning instruments or equipment, and what are the procedures for replacing them?
5. Do we regularly check the function of our ultrasonic cleaner and/or instrument washer? Are we using proper enzymatic cleaners in them?
6. Do we regularly check the function and effectiveness of our sterilizer, including routine spore testing and chemical indicators? How do we keep records of this information?
7. When an operatory is prepared for the next patient, are we using surface disinfectants properly to first clean, then disinfect?
8. What barriers and disposable covers are being used in patient care areas? Are they changed between each patient?
9. Is our office properly preparing dental unit waterlines for patient care to minimize the potential of cross-contamination?
10. Does our office have an infection control manual describing specific procedures for our practice? How is everyone trained and updated?

Editors’ Note:

Get your printable checklist here.