Recently, a Tulsa, Okla. area dentist was cited with putting patients at risk of infection with hepatitis by failing to follow proper infection control practices. The Oklahoma Dental Association is closely monitoring the situation.
Infection control procedures are there for one reason, to protect the patients, says Dr. C. Todd Bridges, president of the Oklahoma Dental Association. This alleged breach may have placed patients at risk, and it is clearly an aberration that in no way reflects the way dentists typically operate. The reason this situation is so alarming is because it is so rare.
The Oklahoma Dental Association recommends that all practicing dentists, dental team members and laboratories follow standard precautions specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Examples of infection control in the dental office include the use of masks, gloves, surface disinfectants and sterilizing reusable dental devices.
We recommend that people talk with their dentists about infection control, says Bridges. Dentists are universally proud of the cleanliness of their offices and will not be offended when patients ask questions about infection control protocols.
The CDC's guidelines for infection control are available at: http://www.ada.org/sections/professionalResources/pdfs/guidelines_cdc_infection.pdf
Source: Oklahoma Dental Association