Basic Points for Good Cross Infection Control

Cross Infection

Cross infection training must be given to all dental care professionals, particularly those who work in the surgery. All surgeries and practices must have a cross infection control policy in place, including information on hand washing, waste disposal, the reporting of accidents, etc.  All dental care professionals who work in surgery must be vaccinated against hepatitis B a record of which must be kept in practice.

Cross infection control policies include basic points such as;

  • Uniforms must be worn only in the work place, must be washed on a high temperature, and a clean uniform must be worn each day
  • Shoes which cover the dental care professional toes must be worn in surgery at all times (Crocs are illegal as they have large holes in them, where a sharp instrument or scalpel blade for example could penetrate the skin if dropped)
  • Glasses, goggles or visors, and masks must be worn during dental procedures and while cleaning prior to sterilisation
  • The patient must wear protective eye wear while in the dental chair
  • Dental care professionals with long hair must wear it tied back
  • Nails must be kept short, any cuts must be covered with a waterproof plaster and a minimum amount of jewellery is to be worn
  • There must be a minimal amount of equipment and products out on work surfaces in the surgery
  • Gloves must not be worn when writing patient notes, using the computer, etc
  • Intra-oral x-rays must be wiped with a disinfectant before placing clean gloves and processing film
  • All hand control panels, e.g. for chair, light, etc  must be covered with cling film and disinfected between patients, or covered with sterilised foil and changed between patients if not of a material that disinfectant is safe to use on
  • Suction tubes and filters must be cleaned daily with the correct solutions
  • Water must be purged through all handpiece units for at least 30 seconds at the start of each surgery session
  • All surfaces are to be disinfected between patients
  • All instruments must be disposed of, disinfected or sterilised between patients
  • Adopt universal precautions for all patients (with regards to cross infection act with the precaution that all patients may be infected with an illness or disease)
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on all equipment
  • Ensure patients medical history is updated at each appointment
  • Cross infection control and decontaminated must be covered each year as verifiable CPD by dental staff

To fail in any way with cross infection control can result in the General Dental Council de-registering any dental care professional who has a responsibility to ensure that it is done correctly, following the guidelines and regulations in place.

About the author

I’ve been a dental nurse for over 13 years, and have worked in various parts of the country in orthodontic practices, general dental practices, within the community dental services, for both NHS and private practices. Within that time I’ve seen quite a few changes, not only with the way services are provided, changes in laws and regulations but also with the use of new materials and more advanced treatments. The one thing that hasn’t changed at all in my time as a dental nurse is the importance of people receiving and understanding clear information about dentistry, treatments, regulations and jobs for example.

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