Master Infection Control in Your Practice

NEW Summary of Infection Prevention Practices

OSAP_infection_control_logoThis March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings:  Basic Expectations for Safe Care. OSAP describes this document as “a plain language summary” of its 2003 (and later) guidelines for infection control. Healthcare workers should use this document as a supplement to the guidelines published from 2003—but not a replacement.

Curious as to what changes you need to implement in your dental practice? Visit’s handy list of “Relevant CDC Recommendations Since 2003.” Here’s what you can expect to be covered in the Summary at-a-glance, according to OSAP:

1. Administrative Measures

2. Infection Prevention Education and Training

3. Dental Healthcare Personnel Safety

4. Program Evaluation

5. Standard Precautions

6. Dental Unit Water Quality

Key points for infection control that you should be implementing in your practice. 

Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list of information. Rather, each section below will include highlights from the CDC’s new summary.

Respiratory Hygiene and Cough Etiquette

  • Have a protocol to contain respiratory secretions of symptomatic patients from the time they enter your office until the time they leave.
  • Post signs at entrances with instructions for proper respiratory hygiene for those patients who show symptoms of infection, including the proper way to contain their cough and dispose of tissues, as well as proper hand washing techniques.

Safe Injection Practices

  • Enter medication containers (single and multi-dose vials, ampules and bags) with a new needle and syringe EVERY TIME—even when getting more doses for the same patient.
  • Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, date multi-dose vials when you first open them and throw away within 28 days.

Sterilization and Disinfection of Patient Care Items and Devices 

  • In or near the reprocessing area if possible, manufacturer instructions for reprocessing reusable dental instruments/equipment should be readily available.
  • Follow routine maintenance instructions from your sterilization equipment manufacturer. Make sure these instructions and your equipment maintenance records are accessible in the office.

Has your dental office mastered infection control?

Review the Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings:  Basic Expectations for Safe Care, “Relevant CDC Recommendations Since 2003and the CDC infection control guidelines you currently have. If you need guidance on any changes you need to make, consider the Infection Control and OSHA 2016 online training offered by the ADA—but check with your State Licensing Board first to make sure the course meets your state standards.

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