In this guide, we will expound on the amendments to the infection control rules as outlined by the Dental Quality Assurance Commission. It is important to note that these amendments include numerous recommendations as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All dental practitioners and associated staff should become familiar with these amendments so that all activities within a practice are in line with legal guidelines and protocols.
When Do Dentists and Their Staff Wear Gloves?
Gloves are required for all individuals that are part of a dental practice when items will be touched that will go directly into the mouth of a patient. Additionally, gloves are required when touching items or substances that have been located within the mouth of a patient.
Who Should Receive Masks in the Dental Practice?
Current guidelines state that dentists, their staff, and all patients should be provided with facial masks while on location. Additionally, any individual that is not receiving care – such as those that go to an appointment with a patient – should be provided with a facial mask. It is the responsibility of all healthcare practitioners – regardless of setting and specialty – to educate all in the importance of taking infection control and prevention steps to prevent the spread of respiratory pathogens.
When is the Deadline to Start Sterilization the Motors of Low-Speed Dental Handpieces?
The commission has provided all dentists and their staff a grace period for starting the sterilization of motors for low-speed dental handpieces.
The deadline is August 31st of the year of 2022.
This is due to the expense associated with purchasing any extra dental handpieces and systems that are required for the sterilization of those products. The act of sterilization aids in destroying all varieties of microorganisms and that includes a wide assortment of bacterial-based spores that are considered to be highly resistant.
Will Dental Practices Have to Purchase Brand New Motors for Low-Speed Dental Handpieces?
No, it is not a requirement to purchase brand new dental handpiece motors as most that are currently available on the market may undergo motor sterilization.
If the dental handpieces that you have in your practice may not undergo motor sterilization, it will be necessary to purchase new low-speed dental handpieces in order to be compliant with both the commission and the CDC.
Do Other Types of Dental Handpieces Have to be Sterilized?
Yes, all types of dental handpieces must be sterilized, not just those that are identified as being “low-speed”. That particular designation was made to reference all dental handpieces that are air-driven, whether they are identified as “low-speed” or “high-speed”.
It does not matter what type of handpieces you have in your practice or the type of power source that they use, they must all be sterilized according to the manufacturing guidelines of that particular make and model.
Are Battery Operated Dental Handpieces Required to be Sterilized?
If your dental handpiece is operated with a battery, it should not be sterilized. This is because of the fact that those companies that manufacture the battery-operated models specifically state that they cannot undergo standard sterilization processes.
Dentist practitioners and their associated staff are instructed to only use battery-operated dental handpieces that are capable of having their various parts isolated so that they may be successfully disinfected and sterilized.
When is Sterilization Required in Dental Instruments?
If the dental instruments that you use are approved by the FDA, are used according to the manufacturer guidelines, or is not specifically mentioned within the commission’s rules, they are to be sterilized.
If the product may be removed from water or air lines, it must be sterilized.
Examples of components that must undergo the sterilization process include all types of dental handpieces, all motors of dental handpieces, prophylaxis angle tools, scaling tips, and tips that are used in conjunction with both water lines and air lines.
Should Dental Instruments Be Wrapped if Going to Be Used Immediately?
No, if you are going to engage in the act of flash sterilization you do not have to bag or wrap any sterilized instrument. This act should only be done if a tool that is considered critical has experienced some type of unexpected contamination and that same type of tool is required in order to successfully complete a procedure with a patient. Otherwise, all sterilized items should be bagged or wrapped after undergoing a comprehensive daily sterilization.
What if There is a Breach in Infection Control in a Dental Practice?
If a breach occurs in your office in terms of infection control, the local health department should be contacted immediately and an incident report must be immediately completed. You may also use the tools and resources as provided by the CDC, referenced below:
- The Steps for Evaluating a Breach in Infection Control
- The Patient Notification Kit for Practitioners
New Low-Speed Dental Handpieces
If you are in need of new low-speed dental handpieces for your dentist practice that will help in ensuring that you meet the guidelines as outlined by the commission, we here at Hughes Dental have you covered!
We have a wide range of dental handpieces and associated components. You will find that we have made it exceptionally easy for you by creating a special section called “Hygiene Handpieces”.
In addition to actual handpieces, we specialize in motors and now offer the complete solution to dental practice infection control, the Aerosol Control System.
Dental Handpiece Maintenance and Repair
In addition to offering a huge selection of the latest and greatest dental instruments and handpieces available on the market, we here at Hughes Dental also specialize in the maintenance and the repair of dental handpieces.
If you are in need of these services, simply visit our website today, print out the free shipping label, package your handpieces, and mail them to us for servicing. We are fast, thorough, and offer the most competitive prices available today. To learn more or to contact us, you may call the following number: 1-800-773-0800