Infection control practices across Canada: do dentists follow the recommendations?
This study investigated provincial and territorial differences in dentists' compliance with recommended infection control practices in Canada (1995). Questionnaires were mailed to a stratified random sample of 6,444 dentists, of whom 66.4% responded. Weighted analyses included Pearson's chi-square test and multiple logistic regression. Significant provincial and territorial differences included testing for immune response after hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination, HBV vaccination for all clinical staff, use of infection control manuals and post-exposure protocols, biological monitoring of heat sterilizers, handwashing before treating patients, using gloves and changing them after each patient, heat-sterilizing handpieces between patients, and using masks and uniforms to protect against splatter of blood and saliva. Excellent compliance (compliance with a combination of 18 recommended infection control procedures) ranged from 0% to 10%; the best predictors were more hours of continuing education on infection control in the last two years, practice location in larger cities (> 500,000) and sex (female). Clearly, improvements in infection control are desirable for dentists in all provinces and territories. Extending mandatory continuing education initiatives to include infection control may promote better compliance with current recommendations. (+info)
Microbial aerosols in general dental practice.
OBJECTIVE: To measure the concentration of microbial aerosols in general dental practices and to use this information to carry out quantitative microbiological risk assessments. METHODOLOGY: Microbial air sampling was carried out continuously during 12 treatment sessions in 6 general dental practices in the South West of England. RESULTS: The microbial aerosol concentration in treatment rooms was generally less than 10(3) colony forming units per cubic metre of air (cfu x m(-3)). However, in 6 out of the 12 visits, at least one peak concentration with much higher numbers of bacteria was detected. The peak concentrations were associated with increased recoveries of presumptive oral streptococci suggesting these aerosols originated from the mouths of patients. These aerosol peaks dissipated within 30 minutes and no dissemination into waiting areas was detected. The peak concentrations were associated with mechanical scaling procedures (47% of procedures giving rise to a peak) and to a lesser extent by cavity preparation (11%). No aerosolised blood was detected. CONCLUSIONS: The data have been used to generate a framework for quantifying risk of exposure of staff to aerosolised microbial pathogens in general dental practice. For example, dentists and their assistants may have a slightly higher risk of exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis than the general public. The use of face seal masks that have been shown to protect against aerosolised micro-organisms may reduce this exposure. (+info)
An assessment of the incidence of punctures in latex and non-latex dental examination gloves in routine clinical practice.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the puncture resistance of a recently introduced non-latex, nitrile dental glove in comparison with a latex glove worn during routine clinical dental procedures. SETTING: Dentists in general dental practice working within the UK during 1999. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: 2,020 gloves worn by five general dental practitioners were examined for punctures following standard clinical use by a water inflation method. Procedures undertaken during glove usage and length of time worn were recorded. RESULTS: Following clinical use, 1.9% of the latex gloves and 5.3% of the nitrile gloves had punctures, a statistically significant difference (P < 0.0001). The puncture resistance of the nitrile gloves was superior to the puncture resistance of previously tested worn non-latex (vinyl) gloves. There was no evidence of a statistically significant difference between operators for the percentage or incidence of punctured gloves (P = 0.787) after correcting for glove type. No statistically significant difference was noted between incidence of puncture in the control, unused gloves (n = 200 for each type) and the gloves examined following clinical use (P = 0.907 for nitrile, P = 0.613 for latex). CONCLUSION: No increase in the number of punctures was noted following clinical use for either glove type. This could be considered to indicate good puncture resistance of the gloves tested in clinical use. (+info)
Occupational exposures to blood in a dental teaching environment: results of a ten-year surveillance study.
Evaluation of occupational exposures can assist with practice modifications, redesign of equipment, and targeted educational efforts. The data presented in this report has been collected as part of a ten-year surveillance program of occupational exposures to blood or other potentially infectious materials in a large dental teaching institution. From 1987 to 1997, a total of 504 percutaneous/non-intact skin and mucous membrane exposures were documented. Of these, 494 (98 percent) were percutaneous, and 10 (2 percent) were mucosal, each involving a splash to the eye of the dental care worker (DCW). Among the 504 exposures, 414 (82.1 percent) occurred among dental students, 60 (11.9 percent) among staff, and 30 (6 percent) among faculty. One hundred ninety-one (37.9 percent) exposures were superficial (no bleeding), 260 (51.6 percent) were moderate (some bleeding), and 53 (10.5 percent) were deep (heavy bleeding). Regarding the circumstances of exposure, 279 (54.5 percent) of the injuries occurred post-operatively (after the use of the device), and most were related to instrument clean-up; 210 (41.0 percent) occurred intra-operatively (during the use of the device); and 23 (4.5 percent) occurred when a DCW collided with a sharp object in the dental operatory (eight cases involved more than one circumstance). The overall exposure rate for the college was 2.46+/-0.11 SD per 10,000 patient visits. The average rate for the student population was 4.02+/-0.20 SD per 100 person-years, with the highest rates being observed among junior year students. The observed rates of occupational exposures to blood and body fluids in this report are consistent with published reports from several other educational settings. Dental teaching institutions are faced with the unique challenge of protecting the student and patient populations against bloodborne infections. Educational efforts must go beyond mere teaching of universal precautions and should include the introduction of safer products and clinical procedures that can minimize the risks associated with the hands-on aspects of the students' learning process. (+info)
Management of needlestick injuries in general dental practice.
The objective of this paper is to advise on the development of practical policies for needlestick injuries in general dental practice. Policies for dealing with occupational exposure to chronic blood borne viruses, namely, hepatitis B, C and HIV are evolving. This article was particularly prompted by recent changes in post exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection. A flow chart is also included which should be of possible use in general dental practice. Needlestick injuries are of increasing concern to healthcare workers. Successful prophylaxis requires careful planning in advance. Whilst all practices should have a policy for sharps injuries, prevention of needlestick injuries remains the best policy. (+info)
Cross infection control measures and the treatment of patients at risk of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in UK general dental practice.
AIMS: To determine the suitability of key infection control measures currently employed in UK dental practice for delivery of dental care to patients at risk of prion diseases. MATERIALS AND METHODS: SUBJECTS: Five hundred dental surgeons currently registered with the General Dental Council of the UK. DATA COLLECTION: Structured postal questionnaire. ANALYSIS: Frequencies, cross-tabulations and chi-squared analysis. RESULTS: The valid response rate to the questionnaire was 69%. 33% of practices had no policy on general disinfection and sterilisation procedures. Only 10 of the 327 responding practices (3%) possessed a vacuum autoclave. 49% of dentists reported using the BDA medical history form but less than 25% asked the specific questions recommended by the BDA to identify patients at risk of iatrogenic or familial CJD. However, 63% of practitioners would refer such patients, if identified, to a secondary care facility. Of the 107 practitioners who were prepared to provide dental treatment, 75 (70%) would do so using routine infection control procedures. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the dental practices surveyed were not actively seeking to identify patients at risk of prion diseases. In many cases, recommended procedures for providing safe dental care for such patients were not in place. (+info)
Disinfection/sterilization of extracted teeth for dental student use.
Extracted human teeth are used in many preclinical courses. While there has been no report of disease transmission with extracted teeth, sterilization of teeth used in the teaching laboratory should be a concern. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of different sterilization/disinfection methods of extracted human teeth using Bacillus stearothermophilus, a bacteria resistant to heat and frequently used to test sterilizers. In this study, 110 extracted molars with no carious lesions were collected and stored in buffered saline. An endodontic occlusal access preparation was cut into the pulp chamber of each tooth. Pulp tissue in the chamber was removed with a broach. Approximately 1 x 10(5) B. stearothermophilus endospores in culture medium were injected into the pulp chamber, sealed with Cavit G, and then placed in sterile saline for twelve hours. Ten teeth were placed into each of eleven groups. Seven groups were immersed for one week in one of the following solutions: a) sterile saline (control group), b) 5.25% NaOCl, c) 2.6% NaOCl, d) 1% NaOCl, e) 10% buffered formalin, f) 2% gluteraldehyde, g) 0.28% quaternary ammonium. Four additional groups were treated by h) 10% formalin for two days, i) 10% formalin for four days, j) autoclaving at 240 degrees F and 20 psi for twenty minutes, and k) autoclaving at 240 degrees F and twenty psi for forty minutes. Each tooth was then aseptically split and placed in an individual test tube with growth medium. Samples were examined for evidence of growth (turbidity) at forty-eight hours. Only autoclaving for forty minutes at 240 degrees F and 20 psi or soaking in 10 percent formalin for one week were 100 percent effective in preventing growth. A chi-square analysis of the data indicates these two methods were significantly better than all other methods (p<0.001). (+info)
How does time-dependent dental unit waterline flushing affect planktonic bacteria levels?
The purpose of this study was to evaluate how time-dependent waterline flushing affects the presence of biofilm in otherwise-untreated dental unit waterlines (DUWLs). Water samples were obtained from twelve highspeed handpiece DUWLs located in the undergraduate treatment clinic at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Dentistry. Baseline water samples (50 cc) were collected prior to the start of continuous flushing. Additional 50 cc samples were collected after two-, three-, and four-minute flushing intervals from the baseline. The levels of planktonic bacteria in DUWLs were quantified by counting colony forming units (CFUs). In addition, segments of water tubing from each of the highspeed handpiece waterlines were examined by scanning electron microscopy, which confirmed the presence of a residual biofilm in the lumen of each dental unit waterline. A one-factor repeated measures ANOVA showed a statistically significant (p<0.01) reduction in CFUs at all intervals compared to baseline and between each successive time interval. Indeed, after four minutes of continuous flushing, all waterlines still harbored CFU levels that exceed current American Dental Association (ADA) recommendations. It was concluded that water flushing of DUWLs produced a statistically significant reduction in planktonic bacteria at each time interval compared to the baseline and between each successive time interval. However, the level of CFUs after four minutes of continuous water flushing still exceeds the current ADA recommendations for acceptable levels of microorganisms. (+info)