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Infection Control In Dentistry: Tools to Keep Yourself and Your Patients Healthy

Posted by Andrea Baysinger on

The topic of infection control in dentistry is important and should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to patient care. It’s definitely something I’m passionate about! That’s why this episode is devoted to different resources you can use to ensure you and your patient are protected. I came across many of these at the recent Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) conference. I’m excited to share them with you!

Infection control in dentistry starts by testing your equipment often

Something that is always emphasized at the yearly OSAP conference is the importance of cleaning your tools as often as possible. The last thing you want is for a patient to get sick on your watch! Something we include on our personal checklist is testing your autoclave and making sure it is functioning correctly. You need to make sure the machine to clean your tools is operating properly at all times.

The Ultrasonic machine’s job is to automatically scrub your instruments, right? One of the most common ways to test that it’s working properly is the foil test (which, by the way, should be done at the end of the day). At the conference, I came across these capsules that you can drop in your ultrasonic. If it’s working properly, the SonoCheck will change the color of the water. Keep listening as Andrea and I cover some other safety devices now available.

The dangers of biofilm in your water lines

Biofilms can contain harmful bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Tuberculosis, and even Legionnaires’ disease. You have to know the quality of the water that is going into your patient’s mouth. You need a protocol for cleaning water lines and you should be testing it regularly. Assume every patient you work with is immunocompromised and do your best possible work to remove and prevent biofilms. 

Recently, one of our clients here in Dallas was testing their water and their tap water was coming back with numbers in the 1,700 range—safe is below 500. They were doing shock treatments and kept coming back with higher numbers. The problem is, old biofilm solidifies and is difficult to clean. Sometimes, for the safety of your patients, it comes down to replacing your equipment.

At the OSAP conference, I came across a booth for a product called Dentaqua. It’s a machine that you can rent (I believe for $200 a month) that is a dental line testing and cleaning system that supposedly can remove and prevent the formation of biofilms. It’s also chemical free. If anyone listening uses it, please let me know what you think, I’d love to hear some feedback!

Prioritize protective glasses as if they were a bullet-proof vest

As many of you know, I worked as a cop for years. Safety on the job is highly important, and can be a matter of life and death! There was an instance where I didn’t wear my bullet-proof vest for two days, and when my wife found out she was very angry—and rightly so. I didn’t take the necessary precautions to protect myself. Moral of the story? Do not take unnecessary risks.

So wear your eye protection! It serves to protect your eyes from bodily fluids from your patient. You’re also supposed to use green glasses to protect your eyes when you’re using lasers. But did you know when you’re supposed to use orange tinted lenses when utilizing curing lights? Exposure to the ultraviolet light can and will damage your eyes. So the extra few seconds it takes to change to a different pair of glasses if 100% worth the inconvenience. 

Make sure to listen to the whole episode as Andrea and I dive into the world of infection control and talk in-depth about what you can do to protect yourself and your patients!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] Wrap-up from the last episode
  • [3:15] From the mailbag!
  • [7:25] OSAP: the infection control think tank of the dental space
  • [14:00] A tool for testing your ultrasonic machine
  • [15:45] Test your equipment every day!
  • [17:25] Safer device for your needles
  • [20:25] We discuss waterline safety
  • [27:10] An option for testing water safety
  • [30:15] Hygienic keyboards
  • [32:20] Eye-Protection

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