Infection Control Guidelines at the College of Dentistry

There has been public concern during the past few years, especially in sensationalized television reports, about the possible transmission of infectious diseases in the dental office. The College of Dentistry shares this concern and has taken the following measures to prevent the possible transmission of infections:

Guidelines: The College of Dentistry meets or exceeds guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control in 2003 and the American Dental Association in 1992. The College of Dentistry also complies with all provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's bloodborne pathogen regulations.

Sterilization Process: Since 1973 the College of Dentistry has utilized a sterilization room in the Dental Science Building. Central Sterilization technicians continuously study the latest research about contamination sources, and also supervise a college-wide sterilization system as a suggested method of combating the spread of infection. All instruments and handpieces are carefully sprayed with disinfectant and sent to Central Sterilization, where they are treated with a sonic cleaner before being processed in the sterilization machines. All heat-tolerant items are sterilized in a steam autoclave; items which are not heat-tolerant are sterilized with gas at the hospital. Tests are run regularly to ensure the effectiveness of all sterilization procedures.

Other Protective Measures: Needles are discarded after use. All chairs, mirrors, handles, and any other clinic items that may have been touched or used during a patient's treatment, are cleaned with a strong disinfectant. Practitioners are required to wear gloves, which are changed between each patient. Practitioners also wash their hands before putting on gloves and after removing gloves. Protective eye wear, masks, and long clinic coats are worn, which are designed to prevent the spread of infection. Additionally, the College's water lines and vacuum hoses are regularly monitored to minimize any risks.

For Additional Information: Regular dental care is important for everyone's dental health. The College of Dentistry, by following infection control guidelines, offers a comfortable, safe environment for dental care. Patients with questions or concerns are encouraged to call the patient representative, 335-7499. Tours of Central Sterilization are also available upon request.