Pressing Infection Control Issues in Dentistry


The importance of infection control in clinical dental practice simply cannot be understated.

The Dental Board of Australia’s Guidelines for infection control state that Dental practitioners must practise in a way that maintains and enhances public health and safety by ensuring that the risk of the spread of infectious diseases is prevented or minimised’ and that dental practitioners work under AS/NZS 4815 unless they work within an organisation that operates under 
 AS/NZS 4187.

However, clinical dental practice is varied. Some practices may consist of only one or two dental operatories, undertake little if any ‘surgical’ procedures and therefore only require a small sterilizing area. Other larger dental practices may have up to 10 operatories, provide a wide range of dental procedures including several different types of dental surgical procedures from implant surgery to dento-alveolar extractions, and require a large central sterilizing area employing dedicated sterilization staff.

While the work practices associated with the decontamination and sterilization processes of reusable instruments in dentistry is relatively routine, consideration must be given to the size of the dental practice and the types of clinical dental procedures undertaken, as well as other important aspects of infection control including PPE, management of sharps and clinical waste, water quality and environmental cleaning.

This lecture will discuss some of the complexities in infection control currently facing Dentistry in Australia.

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