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Post-Pandemic Dental Practice: COVID-19, Oral Health & Infection Control

Course Number: 665

Adjunctive Infection Control Methods

In addition to enhanced methods to reduce aerosols, dental healthcare professionals should implement additional infection control measures, including vaccination protocols and administrative and engineering controls within the dental office. Recommendations from the CDC include administrative measures and education for individuals in dentistry. The occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) has created a hierarchy of controls to address workplace health and safety, including in healthcare settings: Risk elimination, Engineering controls, Administrative practices, and PPE (Figure 2).42

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Figure 2: OSHA’s Hierarchy of Infection Controls in Healthcare Environments

Recommendations for infection control in a dental office include:

  1. Develop and maintain infection prevention and occupational health programs.

  2. Provide supplies necessary for adherence to Standard Precautions (e.g., hand hygiene products, safer devices to reduce percutaneous injuries, personal protective equipment).

  3. Assign at least one individual trained in infection prevention responsibility for coordinating an infection control program.

  4. Develop and maintain written infection prevention policies and procedures appropriate for the services provided by the facility and based on evidence-based guidelines, regulations, or standards.

  5. Facility has system for early detection and management of potentially infectious persons at initial points of patient encounter.

  6. Provide job or task-specific infection prevention education and training to all DHCP. This includes those employed by outside agencies and available by contract or on a volunteer basis to the facility.

  7. Provide training on principles of both DHCP safety and patient safety.

  8. Provide training during orientation and at regular intervals (e.g., annually).

  9. Maintain training records according to state and federal requirements.