Infection Control Breaches in a Dental Office by Olivia Wann

Infection Control Breaches in a Dental Office by Olivia Wann Image

As consultants in the dental OSHA and infection control compliance world, we are keenly interested in the promotion of safe dental care and a safe working environment.

There has been documented transmissions of infectious agents including patient-to-patient in dental settings between the years 2003 and 2015.  According to CDC, there have been reported breakdowns in basic infection prevention procedures including unsafe injection practices, failure to heat sterilize dental handpieces between patients, and failure to monitor autoclaves.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings – Basic Expectations for Safe Care.  This document is available at

According to CDC, this highlights the need for comprehensive training to improve the understanding of underlying principles, recommended practices, their implementation, and the conditions that have to be met for disease transmission.

Our attention was stolen by the recent infection control outbreak related to a pediatric dental office where there were confirmed cases of infection linked to M. abscessus caused by contaminated water used during pulptomies.

As a result, the CDC published Notes from the Field: Mycobacterium abscessus Infections Among Patients of a Pediatric Dentistry Practice – Georgia 2015.

As if these reports were disturbing enough, the Association for Professions in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), published an immediate release April 11, 2016 indicating that handwashing gets skipped a third of the time in outpatient healthcare: study.  According to the paper, despite having policies in place to prevent infections, staff in outpatient care facilities fail to follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37% of the time.

Time and time again, the issue comes down to training.  “Why do we have to do training again this year?”  Have you heard this comment from a well-meaning team member?  In light of the recent publications, we truly understand the need to provide training.  Training is an opportunity to not only learn new things, but also a time to issue important reminders of things we’ve learned in the past.  Policies are only as good as they are followed.

Schedule your onsite inspection and risk assessment for a third party opinion of how well your practice is adhering to the infection control guidelines and OSHA regulations.  This allows our consultants to identify the gaps in your compliance program and to provide a custom fit training program that meets the needs of your team.  Call today to reserve your onsite services.  Telephone (931) 232-7738 or [email protected].


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