Dentistry’s Aerosols: Giving the Dangerous Bugs the Attention they Deserve

Dental professionals must be aware of the potential risks involved within the dental clinic, educate themselves to prevent contamination, and protect all persons within their environment. The production of aerosols and splatter in dentistry is one of the biggest concerns about the spread of infection among both dental professionals and their patients. With over 700 species of bacteria,1 the mouth...

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...

Revisiting Standard Precautions to be Prepared for COVID-19 Advisories

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 publication, but with the rapid changes occurring, some information may have changed since publication. Please visit https://www.coronavirus.gov/ for the latest news and information on COVID-19. If you have watched TV, listened to the radio,...

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...

CDC Releases New Guidance for Dental Care During COVID-19

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 publication (May 26, 2020), but with the rapid changes occurring, some information may have changed since publication. Please visit https://www.coronavirus.gov/ for the latest news and information on COVID-19. Article updated August 4, 2020...

Dental Appliances: Tips to Ensuring Patient Safety while Ensuring Thorough Cleaning

The risk associated with cross-contamination while cleaning dental appliances is a topic that has garnered more attention in recent years. During a dental hygiene appointment, we are tasked with thoroughly cleaning our patients’ night guards, orthodontic appliances, and whitening trays at intermittent times throughout the day. While the hygiene appointment is a balancing act, and we are often watching the...

Infection Control Tips: CDC App, Autoclaving, and Disinfection

As busy hygienists, we quickly become accustomed to the daily tasks of infection control. Staying on top of the latest OSHA recommendations can be a daunting task. Let’s face it, infection control isn’t the most engaging topic ever. To make checking for infection control measures easier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new app, “CDC DentalCheck...

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation in Dental and Medical Settings as a Method of Sterilization

Contaminated surfaces, instruments, and airborne particles present in dental and medical settings are a potential health hazard to medical professionals and patients. Although these microbial populations can be minimized through preventive efforts such as pre-procedural rinses, plastics barriers and proper infection control, these microorganisms are still present in the operatory. Sterilization has been thoroughly studied for use in many...

5 More Infection Control Mistakes You Might Not Realize You’re Making

Infection control has always been a top priority for dental hygienists. After all, it is vital to create a safe treatment environment for patients and hygienists alike. However, some dental hygienists mistakenly endanger themselves and their patients by failing to update their protocols and best practices. After writing my previous article on infection control mistakes, I received a plethora...

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...

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