The guidelines for infection control in a dental setting have been set out by the Government statuary body Standards Australia in their document AS/NZ 4815:2006.
The Australian Dental Association has recommended several procedures that are designed to prevent the transmission of blood-borne viral diseases such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.
Universal procedures are used on each and every patient and are considered the basis of infection control. Gloves are mandatory for all procedures and are discarded after every patient and the hands are washed before the next patient is seated.
IC gel for hand sanitation is also recommended for decontamination. In most procedures, including the scaling and polishing of teeth, a face mask and protective eye wear may be used.
The Sterilisation Process
Sterilisation is a process which kills all forms of life including viruses such hepatitis and AIDS.
It is recommended that this be achieved in a Class B autoclave where all cycle parameters are documented on a printed read-out.
After treating the patient all instruments that are to be reused are to be cleaned in an ultrasonic bath before they can be processed in the autoclave. The ultrasonic bath and the autoclaves must be checked and passed before the daily schedule begins.
Testing and validation of the autoclaves is expressly set out in the ADA guidelines, and these are rigorously followed. Initial daily procedures to be performed, and passed, are the Bowie Dick/Helix Test and the Vacuum Cycle test before the autoclave can be used for the day.
During the day, each load has a Class 6 emulating strip to verify that the load is sterile.
Monthly, the autoclaves are tested with Attest Bacterial challenges, which again confirm the autoclave is doing what it supposed to do, i.e. a sterility assurance level.
Computer Data Batch Tracking
Computer data tracking is a convenient way of tracking each and every instrument that been used on a patient.
The unique bar code is logged into the patient’s record after the instruments have been sterilised and verified as sterile.
The record shows the date of sterilisation, which autoclave was used, and which staff member processed the load.
Disinfection of Surfaces
If removable protective coverings are not used, the surfaces of benches and cabinetry are wiped down with biocidal solutions. If protective covers are used, these are discarded after each patient.
The ADA regularly updates the Infection Control guidelines publication and the dentist and his staff are well aware of what’s involved.
The profession via the ADA has well established guidelines that all dentists must follow, your safety is a priority.
Biofilm is a bacterial/fungal/protozoan sludge that can build up on the interior surfaces of waterline tubing of any dental surgery, which over time can prove hazardous to the quality of the water coming out of the various tools that are used in the patient’s mouth.
Although no epidemiologic evidence indicates a public health problem, the presence of substantial numbers of pathogens in dental unit waterlines generates concern. Exposing patients or dental health-care workers to water of uncertain microbiological quality, despite the lack of documented adverse health effects, is not consistent with accepted infection control principles.
To eradicate this problem, Jervis Bay Smiles has installed a Biowell CDS which ozonates the waterlines and removes any microbial overload at the source.