Department of ORAL MEDICINE

Infection Control in Dental Practice
By Antony Sebastian Ullattil, C.R.I.

Introduction Objective Patient perception and need for infection control Infection control in your dental office OSHA regulation Universal prevention Methods of infection control Disposal of wastes

Introduction Why do we need to know about infection control ? The goal of infection control is to eliminate or reduce the number of microbes shared between people. Implementing safe and realistic infection control procedures requires the full compliance of the whole dental team.

Patient perception and need for infection control. • It is the duty of every dental practitioner to cure for all patients including those with infections diseases. • As a result of frequent medical coverage the public is now aware of the need for dentist to practice good infection control. • Displaying an infection control statement may be helpful to really patient anxiety and gain their confidence.

Routine Procedures. Through medical history Asymptomatic carriers Acceptance of patient It is unethical to refuse dental care to those patient with a potentially infections disease on the grounds that it could expose the dental clinician to personal risk.

Confidentiality infection




Infected dental health care locker most avoid exposure prone procedures.

Exposure risk and effect of infection on dentistry. Every health care specialty that involves contact with mucosa blood or blood contaminated body fluid is now regulated. The goal is to ensure compliance with universal barriers and other methods to minimize infection risks.

Environment of dental office Ventilation – The recommended fresh air supply rate of ventilation systems should not fall below 5-8 liters per second per occupant. Recycling air conditioning systems are not recommended. Floor Covering The floor covering should be impervious and non slippery. Carpet must be avoided.

Air borne contamination High speed hand piece is capable of creating air borne contaminants from bacterial residents from saliva. Aerosols Particle size range from 50 um to approximately 5 um. That can remain suspended in the air and breathed for hrs. Cross infections. Patients infected usually are not aware of the source of their infection.

Personal Vulnerability Immunization - Hepatitis B infection Anti – HBs levels must be measured 2-4 months after complete immunization course. HBS level > 100 M/U/ml provided adequate protection. will

Single booster dose 5 years after completion of primary course is recommended for all health care workers.

Concept of Infection The number of organisms required to cause an infection is termed as “The infective dose”.

Infections diseases of concern in dentistry. Bacteria N.Gonorrhoeae T. Pallidum M. Tuberculosis Strep. Pyogenes Viruses Hepatitis B,C,D H.I.V. Cytomegalo virus Measles Mumps Rubella Herpes

General Principles Universal precautions – use of mouth mask, head cap, protective eye were gloves are recommended. Hand washing and care of hands
Sir William Osler once remarked that Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants. Use of commonly available antiseptic hand wash like chlorhexidine is generally enough.

OSHA (Occupational safety and Health agency) regulation. Exposure and control plan Emergency and exposure incident plan OSHA required records.

Methods of Infection control Sterilization – Sterilization is the destruction or complete removal of all forms of micro organisms. Disinfection – Disinfection is the destruction of many microorganisms but not usually the bacterial spores.

Choice of equipments Choice of equipments depends upon the requirement of the practioner. Water supplies The ADA council on scientific affairs recommends to improved the design of dental equipment of that water delivered to patients during non surgical dental procedures contains no more than 200 colony forming units / ml (cfu/ml) of bacteria at any point of time in the unfiltered output of dental unit.

Pre-Sterilization Cleaning Bio-films of vegatitive form of bacterias spores and the organic matter formed on the surface of the instrument have to be washed with the suitable disinfectant before proceeding with the sterilization process.

Physical agents
Heat – Moist, Dry

Ionizing radiations X-rays, beta rays gamma rays

Ultraviolet rays



Chemical agents
Agents acting membrane on cell

Surface acting agents, Phenols, Organic solvents Agents that proteins denature

Acids and alkalies Agents functional proteins acting group on of

Heavy metals Oxidizing agents, Dyes, Alkylating agents.

Steam Pressure Sterilization (Autoclaving) Long cycle of 15 min – 121 degree Celsius and 15 lbs pressure. Short cycle of 7 min – 134 degree Celsius and 30 lbs pressure. Advantage of autoclaves - Most rapid and effective methods for sterilization of commonly used dental equipments. Disadvantages of Autoclaves – Can cause rusting of carbon steel instruments. Dental burs can be autoclaved after dipping it into 2 % sodium nitrite sol.

Dry Heat Sterilization – Hot air oven Dry heat at 160 degree Celsius for commonly used for this purpose. Microbial inactivation by dry heat is primarily an oxidation process. Employed for sterilization of glassware, glass syringes, oils and oily injection as well as metal instruments. Chemiclaving – Using ethylene oxide gas 131 degree celcius 20 pounds pressure is use for this purpose. Heat sensitive plastic instrument are sterilized by this method.

New methods of sterilization Using - ultra violet light and gamma rays Not effective against RNA viruses like HIV and bacterial spores. Ultrasonic sterilization. Not commonly practice. employed in dental for

Glass bead sterilizer – used sterilization of endodontic files.

Types of instruments and sterilization methods. Hand piece – Should be well disinfected before sterilization Hot oil sterilization can be used for this. Autoclaving is commonly carried out. Sterilization of impression (Vinyl Polysiloxane) or Rubber – Based Impression. – These are sterilized by dipping them in 2 % gluteraldehyde solution for minimum of 2 hours. These should be wrapped in sterile bag.

Disposal of waste / infected material Waste material are first assorted infected or and non infected. as

They are then accordingly disposed of into color coated bags. – yellow, red, blue/white, translucent, black. Sharp objects like BP Blades are disposed of into puncture proof metal boxes. Needled are destroyer. destroyed using needle

Use of disposable needled – syringes are preferable.

Mercury containing amalgam wastes are disposed of into sulphide solution. Needle stick injury – one of the most common hazard which dental professional and other medical professional usually come across. The risk of transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B is most dangerous. For Hepatitis B – It is always better for any health care worker to be well vaccinated with HBs vaccine.

For HIV – as soon as one comes across needle stick injury – 2. Hands should be washed thoroughly with the available disinfectant. 3. The area of the injury should be squeezed of for allowing blood to flow out of it. 4. The patient can be ask for his HIV or Hepatitis B status. 5. The senior medical incharge should be informed about the accident.

1. HIV postexposure chemoprophylaxis for health workers. Basic (28 days) – Zidovudine + Lamivudine Expanded (28 days) – As above + Indinavir or nelfinavir or neviriapine 4. PCR – (polymerized chain reaction) can detect the presence of HIV – p24 antigen within 24 hrs of initial infection. 5. Check up with ELISA in every six months. 6. The risk of HIV transmission by needle stick injury is only 0.03 %

References : Textbook of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – Neelima Anil Malik

Sturdevants - Art & Science of Operative Dentistry - Fourth edition

Medical problems in dentistry – Shully and cowsan.

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