Dental Infection Control Awareness Month

Dental Infection Control Awareness Month

It’s September! And it’s officially Dental Infection Control Awareness Month! We get you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about COVID and infection control. So guess what? Andrea and I will cover infection control without mentioning COVID, other than right now...We’ll cover getting a point-person in place and written policies and procedures. Check it out! 

Outline of This Episode

Every office needs a point-person

This is an opportunity to use the time we have in Slowtember to review infection control protocols. Every office needs to have an infection prevention coordinator—or OSHA safety coordinator—to oversee all things related to employee safety and infection control. If more than one person is in charge, no one is in charge. Andrea points out that you don’t want to run into a situation where you’re saying, “Oh, I thought you were taking care of that.” 

Secondly, you want to make sure if that person leaves their role is reassigned to someone else. If you don’t know who it is, you probably don’t have someone in place. I promise you, there will be someone in your practice who wants to do the role. But if no one steps up, so be it. Someone has to lead the pack and you get to choose who that someone is. But make sure you give them the paid time to get it done.

Make sure you have written infection-control protocols

You need to have written policies and procedures that establish how you do things. According to the CDC, you need written procedures specific to the dental setting. This includes things like:

  • Procedures for containing respiratory secretions
  • Rules for sick employees
  • Infection control education
  • Policies for immunizations and vaccinations (Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, MMR, Tetanus, Diphtheria/Pertussis)
  • Safe injection practices for sharps/needles
  • Rules for cleaning and sterilizing contaminated dental instruments
  • Having instructions for use for medical devices and instruments (handpiece, sterilizers, x-ray machines, etc.)
  • Cleaning and disinfection protocols for surfaces
  • Cleanups of chemical spills or bodily fluids
  • Testing dental unit waterlines + water treatment
  • Protocols for the correct use of sterile water 
  • Rules for how to manage boil water advisories
  • A tuberculosis exposure control plan (review the statistics for your country and state)

Many dental offices that have a written set of protocols have never read them. That means practices are simply assuming their staff has been trained on these things. Not good. The dentist is expected to have the most knowledge and experience with infection control. Sadly, they’re often the least knowledgeable and experienced. Don’t let that be you! You also want to have a detailed conversation with your staff about these protocols. Does your staff know them? You’re only as strong as your weakest link. 

Mark your calendar for Dental Compliance Bootcamp 2021! Bootcamp is all things compliance and risk-management related. It’s available to non-clients (even better, It’s FREE for current clients).

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