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HICprevent

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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Living on Tulsa time: In light of dental debacle tell patients about best practices for infection control (and use them!)

January 12th, 2015

In light of the Tulsa dental debacle and ensuing patient questions and concerns, Noel Brandon Kelsch, RDHAP, of Moor Park CA, a registered dental hygienist in alternative practice and past president of the California Dental Hygienists’ Association, recommends the following essentials to ensure proper infection control in dentistry:

• Inform patients that the practice uses evidence-based infection control precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest recommendations and other resources can be down loaded from the CDC.

• Explain that dental anesthetics are provided using sterile single-use needles and cartridges of anesthetic and that these items are properly discarded after each patient.

• If IV medications are used, explain that these medications are either from single-dose vials, or multi-dose vials are accessed only once with a single needle and syringe, and that additional medications, even for a single patient, are drawn with a new syringe and needle.

• Explain the sterilization process, including thorough cleaning, examination and then sterilization of instruments.

• Reassure patients that instruments are maintained in sterile pouches or wraps until they are needed for patient care. It may be particularly useful to only open pouches once patients have arrived, so they may see for themselves that the instruments are properly packaged.

• Discuss the processes used for sterility assurance, including chemical indicators on and/or in packs of instruments, and the regular monitoring of the sterilization process though the use of a biological indicator (spore test).only by professionals licensed to provide those services. More information may be found through

• Reassure patients that all procedures requiring licensure or certification are provided only by professionals licensed to provide those services. More information may be found at the American Dental Association at