Infection Control


Infection control is an important professional obligation. It is a key to quality and safe dental care. World Dental Federation urges all health care professionals to adhere to the "Standard Precautions" as set by authorities. It includes educating and protecting dental health care personnel, preventing transmission of blood borne pathogens, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, sterilisation and disinfection of patient-care items and environmental infection control.

Adequate measures are taken to protect patients against blood-borne infections:
• Special care while using cutting needles and instruments. Remove them from work area immediately after use.
• Disinfect all exposed surfaces in work environment.
• Use single-use instruments if sterilisation is not possible.
• Follow protocols recommended by authorities for cleaning, disinfection and disposal of used equipments.
• Implement tracking, tracing and biological indicator monitoring systems for sterilisation.
• Use covers to protect documents, suction tubes and any other handling areas.
• Make sure that equipments are protected from contamination by use of appropriate barrier packaging.

Dental health care professionals and staff are also at a risk of exposure to bacteria and viruses. Thus it is considered as an unsafe practice. Failure to prevent a harmful event caused by transmission of infectious diseases or contamination is considered as negligent conduct. It is a safe place only when appropriate infection control standard of care is followed.

Steps must taken by an orthodontist to prevent infection:
• Wear appropriate gloves and mask.
• Change gloves and mask between patients when wet.
• Use eyewear with side shields.
• Wear appropriate protective clinical attire.
• Carefully wash hands or use alcoholic hand gels after removal of gloves.

• Infection control is considered to be an ethical issue and providing sub-standard infection control care is unethical and unsafe dental practice. As a professional, dentist has a moral duty to put patients and staffs best interest before self interest. Government regulatory bodies, academic institutions and associations are collectively accountable for clinical governance, regulation guidance and education of dental community to ensure improvement of quality of service and high standards in clinical care. Dental association should educate public on precautions and risk of diseases through neglecting dental problem.

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