It’s not often that we have a radical Infection Control Update—but we are in the midst of one now—
Even if you are a seasoned dental professional with years of experience, you will want to take a look at the New 2016-2017 CDC Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Offices.
Because—– OSHA Inspectors will be focusing intently on these new Infection Control Guidelines when they visit your office!
This new CDC Infection Control Update provides specific changes that will be important for your entire team to know.
Below is a bullet-point / cliff notes version of the update. It will be important that review this document—in a staff meeting.
Then make sure to print the CDC Update and fill-in-the-blanks by customizing appendix A & B. Then save this with your other
Important OSHA documents.
Make sure you understand in detail, these specifics for:
Universal / Standard Precautions: You already implement these practices with all patients. These protocols protect the patient and employee from cross- contamination and include the following… Practice these virulently:
Hand Hygiene: Use soap & water when hands are visibly soiled. Use Antimicrobial Soaps when a blood-borne path may be exposed. Always wash hands thoroughly, after touching bare-handed objects, before & after treating patients or after taking off gloves. That is a lot of hand washing! Use of sanitizing hand gel is not a substitute for hand washing and should only be used when there is no visible soil on hands.
Personal Protective Equipment: These items must be provided to all employees and worn during clinical and clean up procedures: Safety Glasses with Side Protection or Face Shields, Surgical Masks (changed—at least one per patient), Well-Fitting / Non-Allergic Clinical Gloves, Puncture Proof Gloves ( for all employees who handle soiled instruments), Ear Protection ( for employees exposed to more than 2 hours / day of Turbine or Ultrasonic Handpieces ), & Lab Coats or Surgical Gowns.
Respiratory Hygiene / Cough Etiquette: This practice will aid in the spread of undiagnosed transmissible respiratory infections. Respiratory Hygiene will safeguard both employees and patients. Post signs for patients to understand proper Respiratory Hygiene. Have touchless Tissue Receptacles, Masks & Sanitizer Gels available for patients. Determine an Office Policy for treating or dismissing sick or contagious Patients & Employees. And—Stick to your plan! Make sure your policy is written down. ( Use Appendix A & B at the back of the new CDC Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Offices).
Sharps Safety & Safe Injection Practices: Be sure to toss all disposable Sharps into POINT-OF-USE Containers. Do not walk around with disposable sharp— this lends for more chance of injury with that sharp object. The clinician administering injections must re-load and re-cap anesthetic syringes. Do not hand back in-use syringes to another employee. Recap with an approved recapping devices or scoop-one-handed technique —in a direction that points away from your body.
Sterilization and Disinfection of Patient-Care Items and Devices: Sterilization & Disinfection of Patient-Care Items requires multiple steps. Your team must meet-and-discuss the differences between Critical, Semi-Critical & Non – Critical Items to be processed. Each dental practice must have written policies and procedures in place for containing, transporting, and handling instruments and equipment that may be contaminated with blood or saliva. (Use Appendix A & B for this too!) If you have the Dental Enhancements OSHA Manual, you will find (2) customizable sections for your Infection Control Written Obligations.
Environmental Infection Prevention and Control
Written Policies & Procedures for routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces should also be included in your infection prevention plan.
Cleaning removes large numbers of microorganisms from surfaces and should always precede disinfection.
Disinfection uses chemicals to eliminate microbes—but is not as virulent as sterilization.
Both Cleaning & Disinfection need to be understood & in a constant process in your clinical areas.
Dental Unit Water Quality
Your Dental unit waterlines promote bacterial growth and development of harmful bacterial biofilm. These water lines include plastic tubing that carries water to the high-speed handpiece, air/water syringe, and ultrasonic scaler. Employees and patients can be placed at risk of adverse health effects if water is not appropriately treated. All dental units should use systems that treat water to meet drinking water standards which is LESS THAN 500 CFU/of heterotrophic water bacteria). Independent water-bottle systems—alone are not sufficient. Neither is distilled water use. Make sure to treat all dental chair water with a commercial-grade products or devices meet current regulations for quality water.
There undoubtedly is a lot to review! Remember to download and print the New 2016-2017 CDC Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Offices.
This packet will provide a great review and written protocols that you can customize for your dental office.
Got Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my team. We are happy to provide clarification on the new CDC Infection Control Guidelines and help you with any or your OSHA or HIPAA Compliance needs.
Written by: Jill Obrochta RDH BS
Dental Enhancements, Founder
Compliance Researcher & Trainer