CDC releases new infection control resource

Minimizing exposures to infectious agents should be a primary objective in a dental office for the sake of the staff and patients. To help provide guidance on this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a resource to further prevent infections in dental practices.

The resource, titled "Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care," summarizes current infection prevention recommendations and includes a checklist that can be used to evaluate compliance. The information presented is based primarily upon the previously published 2003 guideline and represents infection prevention expectations for safe care in dental settings.

The resource includes additional topics and information relevant to dental infection prevention and control published by CDC since 2003, including:

  • Infection prevention program administrative measures.
  • Infection prevention education and training.
  • Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
  • Updated safe injection practices.
  • Administrative measures for instrument processing.

The CDC states that transmission of infectious agents among patients and dental health care personnel in dental settings is "rare." With that being said, the CDC states that from 2003 to 2015, transmissions in dental settings, including patient-to-patient transmissions, have been documented. According to the CDC, there is a need for comprehensive training to improve understanding of underlying principles, recommended practices, their implementation, and the conditions that have to be met for disease transmission. All dental settings, regardless of the level of care provided, "must make infection prevention a priority and should be equipped to observe Standard Precautions and other infection prevention recommendations."

For more guidance on infection control, visit cda.org/practicesupport and click on the orange "Regulatory Compliance" tab on the right side of the page. A link to the CDC's "Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care" resource has been added to the External Links page (under the National Agencies tab) on cda.org/practicesupport as well.

For more information, visit cdc.gov.

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