by Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH
In any profession, it is not unusual to hear things like “I have done this for 17 years, and I haven’t had any problems. Why change now?” While relatable, it’s not a good mindset to have in the dental profession. Dentistry is always evolving, which means that we must also if we wish to offer patients the best care possible.
In dentistry, infection control practices are not about us, but about the people who enter our facilities and sit in our chairs. Patient health must be the utmost concern, as it only takes one person catching an infection to put our practices and licenses at risk, nevermind the person’s suffering because of our mistake.
The biggest dangers come from healthcare-associated infection, medication errors, and unsafe surgery. As documented in many studies, numerous infectious outbreaks are due to a lack of compliance with established guidelines for disinfection and sterilization. When incidents happen, patients can be affected by minor to life-threatening ways ranging from temporary to permanent injuries or even death. Patients often advocate for themselves, but at the end of the day, it’s still on us, the healthcare professionals to properly care for our patients.
To improve the system and help prevent dental-related infections you can:12
Employ these strategies to improve the quality of your service and infection control to keep you, your practice, and your patients safer.
1 “World Health Organization: Patient Safety” https://www.who.int/patientsafety/education/curriculum/course1_handout.pdf. Accessed 5 Mar. 2020.
2 “Disinfection and Sterilization” https://disinfectionandsterilization.org. Accessed 5 Mar. 2020.