The recent reported hygiene breaches of a Sydney dental practice have put infection control in Australian dental clinics under media scrutiny. Reports suggesting that up to 11,000 patients could have been exposed to HIV or Hepatitis have bought infection control into the national spotlight.
While many practices continually update their protocols to be in line with the most current infection control standards, it is an area that is largely left up to dental staff. With the pressure on practitioners growing each day to offer the latest treatments and technology, and generate a higher turnover – it is not surprising that dentists simply don’t have the time to continually monitor the infection control practices of their staff.
Here are a few simple steps that you could take to try to keep your practice’s infection control protocols effective and current.
Ensure that your staff’s immunisations are current.
2. Infection Control Manual
Have each staff member read the practice infection manual and complete an infection control induction program. Regular refresher training is also appropriate to ensure that the necessary infection control measures are being complied with and understood.
3. Hire an Infection Control Consultant
If you are unsure that your practice protocols meet current guidelines, you can hire an appropriately qualified Infection Control Consultant to provide training to your staff and review your infection control policies.
4. Stay Up to Date
Stay up to date with the ADA guidelines in your state. Practice manuals must be updated regularly if and when new guidelines are produced from the Dental Board, the ADA and the NHMRC. Assign this task to a senior staff member.
5. Maintain your Equipment
Ensure that the necessary validation tests of your sterilization equipment are performed daily and that your technician services are kept up to date.
6. Keep Records
Ensure that your practice sterilisation records are kept up to date.
7. Create an Aseptic Operating Field
When performing an invasive procedure, establishing an aseptic operating field will minimise the risk of cross contamination or infection. It is fast becoming common practice to set up an aseptic operating field for dental implant, surgical extraction and bone augmentation procedures, in fact many implant manufacturer’s only offer warranties on implants placed in an aseptic environment.
MDDI offer a range of Sterile Implant & Oral Surgery Procedure Packs which include the drapes, barriers and PPE needed to assist in creating an aseptic operating field.
8. Switch to Single Use Instruments
Sterile, single-use dental instruments are designed to assist in reducing both cross contamination risks and reprocessing costs from your surgery. With dental infection control being in the media spotlight recently, sterile single use instruments are in high demand from both dental professionals and patients alike. Patients are becoming more concerned about hygiene practices and they are more proactive about educating themselves on infection control and sterility.
MDDI offer an exclusive range of sterile single-use examination and restorative instrument kits featuring high quality, precision made dental instruments with stainless steel tips and ergonomic plastic handles. All of our products are CE and TGA certified.
*This blog post is an opinion only, and not intended as advice. Please contact the ADA in your state for advice.