Basics of Dental Infection Control

For dental procedures such as cleaning, filling of cavities and root canal, we trust our dentists. However, you may wonder sometimes about the role of environment in making dental procedures a success or failure. You may also wonder how those professionals keep the surfaces clean. A few things are worth mentioning in this regard.

Cleaning of instruments and equipment

There are complete instructions about how the instruments and equipment need to be cleaned in the dental offices. There are some categories in which the instruments can be classified, i.e. critical, semi-critical and non-critical.

  • Critical instruments are the ones which are used to penetrate soft tissues and bones. The instruments to talk about in this regard are scalers, scalpels, forceps and bone chisels. Since these are the critical instruments, they should be sterilized well before and after use.
  • Instruments which have to deal with mucous membranes or non-dry skin are the semi-critical instruments. These instruments mainly include mirrors, amalgam condensers and reusable impression trays. These instruments also need to be sterilized before and after use.
  • Non-critical instruments are the ones which come in contact with the skin. These instruments include pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters and X-ray heads. These instruments get ready to be reused between the patients after a mild treatment for disinfection. This disinfection mainly aims at the prevention of tuberculosis.

Hand washing

Hand washing is the critical process for the dental procedure to prevent germs from being transferred to the patients. The chemical-based hand sanitization solutions may be used for proper hand cleaning before the procedure is started. The dental professional with visibly soiled hands needs to ensure proper cleaning of hands with the help of soap and water.

Surface contamination

When it comes to cleanliness in the dental office, it is not just about the instruments. According to CDC, there are two types of surfaces in the dental office, i.e. clinical contact surfaces and housekeeping surfaces. Clinical contact surfaces include drawer handles, faucets handles, light handles, counter tops, chairs and other items which come in contact with the hands of patient or dentist.

Housekeeping surfaces include Floors, walls and sinks. According to survey, these surfaces have little to do with the contamination which can be harmful for the health of patients. So, normal cleaning on everyday basis is enough to ensure proper hygiene of these surfaces.

Education and training

For effective dental infection control, staffs at the dental offices need to learn about the ways to maintain proper cleanliness required to keep the dental office free for any contaminations.


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