Home Infection Control

Infection Control

5 Infection Control Mistakes to Avoid Part 1

Patient safety and infection control are top priorities for hygienists. Surprisingly, there are many dental offices that do not adhere to the latest safety and infection control protocols. Some dental professionals continue to use outdated or ineffective infection control methods because they have always used them, while other dental professionals simply skip over required infection control training. Below are five...

How Clean Are the Waterlines in Your Operatory?

Patients come to your dental office because they are looking to improve or maintain their health. Unfortunately, news stories too often emphasize the opposite effect. A patient becomes sick or even hospitalized, apparently because they visited a dental office. One recent report that made national headlines highlighted the tragic story of a seven-year-old girl, who had to have four...

Why Hygienists Should NEVER Treat Patients with Active Oral Herpes

As a dedicated and meticulous dental hygienist, you may find yourself noticing small details that are unnoticed or dismissed by most people. So when a patient presents for her prophy with an active herpes simplex lesion on her lip (herpes labialis), your antennae immediately go up. As you mentally determine the best course of action to take, you calmly begin...

Where the Wild Germs Grow: Dental Professionals Can’t Kill Them All

Thankfully, we are learning all sorts of great information about keeping bacteria at bay in the dental office. The roadmap to cleanliness in the dental practice is quite clear ‒ hand hygiene, water line maintenance, and sterilization. As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness and ethical standards. I am not by nature a germaphobe. I should probably have more...

OSHA’s Surprise Visits: Tips for Dental Offices to be Prepared

Prior to the pandemic, during a normal hectic workday at my office, the local component of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) dropped in for a surprise visit. I think it is safe to say that this is one of the most dreaded moments by dental professionals in a dental office. While many offices go their entire business...

Suction Backflow: How Dental Hygienists Can Prevent Cross-contamination

Many of us drink through a straw. When you take a long, delicious slurp, have you ever noticed that, once you release your lips from the straw, that the remaining liquid trapped inside the cylinder tubing backflows into the cup in which it rests? I have witnessed the process multiple times and even watched my children play insipidly with...

The Potential Use of Environmentally Friendly PPE in Dental Hygiene

Alternative solutions for environmentally friendly personal protective equipment (PPE) are needed in order to reduce the amount of medical waste created by dental offices. This can start with dental hygienists who have always had a public health advocacy role since the profession's inception. Environmental health and safety are included within that realm of public health for dental hygienists. The American...

Poked: Protocol Hygienists Must Follow After Dental Sharps Injury

Dental hygienists are among the 5.6 million workers in health care and related occupations who are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) such as saliva in dental procedures.2 Dental professionals handle dental scalers, burs, anesthetic needles, orthodontic wire, and other hazardous materials daily. Dental facilities should have a clear protocol for sharps injuries...

Hydrogen Peroxide Pre-rinse during COVID: Have We Been Misled?

Hygiene schools teach the importance of preprocedural rinses (PPMR), viewing it as a method for lowering the bacterial load and preventing the spread of disease/microorganisms. When the pandemic descended upon us, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) once again pushed the narrative that preprocedural rinses, specifically hydrogen peroxide, were necessary and beneficial to...

Ventilation: Safely Control Flow of Bioaerosols in Dental Operatories

Editor's Note: Information about COVID-19 is changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. We have made every attempt to ensure this article is up-to-date at the time of original article publication (June 28, 2020), but with the rapid changes occurring, some information may have changed since publication. Please visit coronavirus.gov for the latest news and information on COVID-19. The worldwide spread...

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