Dental organisations seek to assure the public that the health and safety of patients is the priority with all infection control standards. On a daily basis countless procedures are performed with safety and effectiveness thanks to established industry standards. This involves following set infection control standards and precautions.
Dentists, technicians and staff are required to follow set processes and precautions to ensure the safety of dental treatments and procedures. The requirements also extend to dental laboratories. Dental organisations provide the processes and procedures which must be adhered to in order to ensure patient health and safety. Tools and checklists are provided to assist dental professionals to protect both themselves and their patients prevent the spread of bacteria and disease.
If patients have questions about infection control at their dental practice, they will need to speak to the reception team or treatment coordinator. Dentists will be able to demonstrate procedures in actin. Some of these protocols will be easy for patients to see, while others are behind the scenes. Visible actions include the use of masks and gloves. Technicians will also disinfect surfaces between appointments. Dental devices are sterilised so that they do not transmit bacteria.
Prior to a patient appointment, all surfaces such as dental chair, light, handles, tray and work tops will all have been cleaned and decontaminated. Some practices use plastic covers to cover contact surfaces, and these are then removed to reveal a new untouched cover before the next appointment.
Disposable items such as gloves and masks will be changed before each new patient appointment. Non disposable items such as dental instruments are sterilised. Disposable dental instruments and needles cannot be reused.
Guidelines are also provided for the monitoring and maintenance of waterlines as standards must be met to ensure patient safety. Dental unit waterlines are the tubes which connect dental devices to water supply. These tubes can harbour bacteria and must be monitored and managed adequately to meet manufacturer and infection control standards.
All staff need to comply with infection control initiatives to prevent the spread of bacteria and disease in their practice. They will also be caring for their patients and building their brand and reputation in the process.
Patients can also do their bit by ensuring they use antibacterial hand gel as required and re-schedule appointments, for example if they have the flu or a heavy cold or other infectious illness.
Your dental practice may display posters showing processes and standards for infection control. Regular training and CPD will also ensure standards are maintained. Patients also need to ensure they are following a healthy dental care routine at home and attend regular appointments to ensure their dental hygiene and health.