Investigating Breaches of Infection Control in Dental Practice

Megan Reilly1, Dr Soniya Nanda2

1Hands-On Infection Control, PO Box 233, North Perth WA 6906,

2Department of Health, 189 Royal Street, East Perth WA 6004,


Ask any dental practitioner about their infection prevention program, and they are likely to express confidence that they are fully compliant with all relevant professional requirements.  But is this really the case?  The slow drip of infection prevention and control breach stories making news in Australia and internationally would suggest that non-compliance is an issue.  While each breach reported is different, there is a common theme.  All too often dental practitioners simply don’t recognise they are in violation of their infection control obligations until it is too late.  Consequences from non-compliance with appropriate infection control measures are significant for practitioners, and may be for patients and the community.

This presentation describes the risk assessment approaches undertaken to investigate reported poor infection control practice in several dental practices in Western Australia.  Common assessment findings, patient and practice outcomes are discussed.  Recommendations are provided for improved public health and infection control future investigations using a standardised, multidisciplinary risk-based approach.

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