What precautions should I take when employed in the dental field?
Consider blood, saliva and gingival fluid from all dental patients as infective. Refer to "Routine Practices" for preventing transmission of bloodborne infectious diseases.
- Use rubber dams in restorative dentistry whenever possible
- Report immediately suspect fluid exposure, or a needlestick or sharp injury to a designated person because if post-exposure chemoprophylaxis is to be implemented, it should begin preferably within 1 to 2 hours after exposure.
What personal protection should I use?
- if you have open or healing wounds, or skin infections.
- when in contact with saliva, mucous membranes or blood.
- when in contact with blood-soiled items, body fluids or surfaces contaminated by them.
- when examining all oral lesions.
Replace torn or punctured gloves immediately.
Use new gloves for every patient.
- when blood or body fluids are likely to soil clothing
Change gowns daily or when visibly soiled with blood or body fluids.
Wear masks, face/eye protection or chin-length plastic face shields:
- to protect oral and nasal mucosa from the splatter of blood, saliva or gingival fluid
- between patients
- after completing procedure and before leaving work area
- with germicidal soap before and immediately after removing gloves
When should I decontaminate and sterilize instruments and equipment?
- Use disposable materials. Dispose in plastic bags. Place needles and sharp instruments in puncture-resistant containers before disposal. Check with local municipality for disposal of contaminated waste.
- Routinely sterilize instruments used in all dental procedures. Store in sterile packs or pouches.
- Sterilize after each use other dental instruments that come in contact with oral tissues such as amalgam condensers, plastic instruments of handpieces and burs. High-level disinfect if this is not possible.
- Cover with impervious-backed paper, tin foil or clear plastic wrap equipment and surfaces that may become contaminated and are not easy to clean. Remove and replace for each patient.
- Thoroughly clean blood and saliva from supplies used in mouth (impression material, bite registration). Clean and disinfect.
How should I decontaminate of environmental surfaces?
- Use absorbent paper towelling to remove blood or saliva.
- Use a medical grade disinfectant to disinfect all potentially contaminated objects and surfaces.
- Follow safe work procedures as stated in the material safety data sheets (MSDS) for handling and disposal.
Document last updated on January 13, 2010
Copyright ©1997-2013 Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety