Basic Guide to Infection Prevention and Control in Dentistry PDF
Dentists are exposed to a wide variety of potentially infectious microorganisms in their clinical environment. The transmission of infectious agents from person to person or from inanimate objects within the clinical environment resulting in infection is known as cross-infection.
The protocols and procedures involved in the prevention and control of infection in dentistry are directed to reduce the possibility or risk of crossinfection occurring in the dental clinic, thereby producing a safe environment for both patients and staff.
All employers have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure that all their employees are appropriately trained and proficient in the procedures necessary for working safely. They are also required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 to review every procedure carried out by their employees which involves contact with a substance hazardous to health, including pathogenic microorganisms. Employers and their employees are also responsible in law to ensure that any person on the premises, including patients, contractors and visitors, is not placed at any avoidable risk, as far as is reasonably practicable.
Thus, the concept of the risk of cross-infection is an important one in dentistry. We do not deal in absolutes, but our infection control measures are directed towards reducing, to an acceptable level, the probability or possibility that an infection could be transmitted. This is usually measured against the background infection rate expected in the local population; i.e. the patient or dental operative system is placed at no increased risk of infection when entering the dental environment. Infection control guidance in dental surgery has developed from an assessment of the evidence base, consideration of the best clinical practice and risk assessment.
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