Ask the Editors
What are fundamental principals for practicing proper infection control in a dental office?
One aspect of infection control that is sometimes forgotten in the ongoing evolution of technologies, methodologies, and products is that long-standing, basic infection control principles have not really changed over the years. While there is certainly no single “best list,” here is a summary of major principals:
- Perform effective hand hygiene.
- Immunize against vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriately.
- Heat sterilize all reusable patient care instruments/items used intraorally.
- Use respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette.
- Prevent cross-contamination with aseptic technique and environmental asepsis.
- Prevent sharps injuries by using safe work practices & engineering controls.
You may find that as you review and consider each of these principals, many of the procedures and protocols that you perform as routine components of your practice day provide effective applications of these principles. You may be pleasantly surprised as to just how well your infection control program is working.