I had a couple that visited our office recently to "interview" us to see if we were the right fit for them. They happened to be moving to the Fort Worth area from out of town and needed to find a dentist that they felt comfortable with. We were chosen by the recommendation from their previous dentist - a dentist that I did not know and am so thankful for because of this trust he had in our office. During our pleasant talk, the question came up of our infection control standards. I proceeded to show them our sterilization area and showed them how we handle all of our instruments, from washing to sterilization, and the care that we take to clean our rooms before each guest sits down to have their dental visit. I have to say that I thought they were very pleased with what we had to tell them.
In light of the happenings in Oklahoma not too long ago, this got me wondering how many folks, that visit the dentist, know about the infection control procedures that the office goes through to ensure their safety. I would assume not many. The reason that I know this is because I have not had many of my guests ask me about our infection control standards - I can probably count them on one hand!
I will say that we are very careful to follow standards that ensure the safety of our guests as well as all of our staff members. This is something that we take very seriously, because having a sense of safety is critical in all aspects of healthcare - whether you go to your dentist, doctor, chiropractor, optometrist, veterinarian or even your hairstylist and nail technicians! Below is a statement from the American Dental Association in response to the Oklahoma dental office having improper infection control standards. These are just some of the guidelines, outlined in this publication, that we follow.
As time goes on, I will post some of the materials and methods that we use to ensure your safety and the safety of your family while you are having a visit in our office. In the meantime, if you have any questions about any of our infection control procedures, please ask when you visit or call us and we will be glad to answer any concerns that you have.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this very important subject!
- Dr. Perry
American Dental Association Statement on Infection Control in Dental Settings
September 19, 2013
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CHICAGO, Sept. 19, 2013 – The American Dental Association (ADA) is deeply concerned about the first confirmed report of patient to patient transmission of hepatitis C in a dental practice setting linked to improper infection control practices. The ADA wishes to assure the public that patient health and safety are top priorities for the Association.
"This is a highly atypical and disconcerting case," states ADA President Robert A. Faiella, D.M.D., M.M.Sc. "Every day, hundreds of thousands of dental procedures are performed safely and effectively thanks to the diligence of dentists who follow standard infection control precautions developed by the Centers for Disease Control."
Dr. Faiella added, "While this is an isolated case, it understandably raises questions about infection control in the dental office. The ADA encourages people to talk with their dentists, who will be glad to explain or demonstrate their infection control procedures."
The report issued yesterday is part of an interim status report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Tulsa Health Department on the results of their joint investigation of the dental surgical practice with offices in Tulsa and Owasso. The oral surgeon involved in the case voluntarily surrendered his license to practice.
The investigation began March 28 when public health officials notified the practice’s former patients that they may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses.
An epidemiological investigation indicated that one case of transmission of the virus occurred in the dental practice. The transmission was described as "patient-to-patient" because improper infection control procedures caused the virus to be passed from one patient to another. Genetic-based testing of patient specimens by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided laboratory confirmation of the finding.
The ADA has long recommended that all practicing dentists, dental team members and dental laboratories use standard precautions as described in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Guidelines (PDF) for Infection Control in Dental Health Care-Settings.
Standard precautions protect patients and health care workers by preventing the spread of disease. Examples of infection control in the dental office include the use of masks, gloves, surface disinfectants and sterilizing reusable dental devices.
Before any patient enters the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, instrument tray, drawer handles and countertops, have been cleaned and decontaminated. Some offices may cover this equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient.
Non-disposable items like dental instruments are cleaned and sterilized between patient appointments. Disposable dental instruments and needles are never re-used. Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective garb such as gloves, masks, gowns and eyewear. After each patient, all disposable wear items, such as gloves, are discarded. Before seeing the next patient, the members of the treatment team cleanse their hands and put on new gloves.
More information on infection control in dental offices is available online on the ADA consumer website.
Read more in the ADA News.
About the ADA
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more infomration on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org
Posted on Sat, May 24, 2014
by Chad Perry filed under