2010 Volume 25 Issue 5 Pages 302-309
Dental clinics are constantly exposed to the risks of indoor air pollution from dental procedures, such as tooth preparation and calculus removal, and cross-infection via blood and saliva. Although various infection control measures have been introduced, little is known about the status of implementation. The Infection Control Project Team of the Tokyo Shika Hoken-i Kyokai conducted a survey on the level of infection control procedures. A questionnaire was sent to all 4539 members of the association and 943 or 20.6% responded. The questionnaire contained 17 questions regarding personal protective equipment, environmental control measures, sterilization/disinfection of instruments, infection control measures, and knowledge of infection control. The following results were obtained. Use of masks and gloves was reported by 99% and 85% of responders, respectively, but only 51% were wearing goggles or face shields. The rate of hand washing was 95%, whereas the change of gloves for each patient was 54%, and 57% and 31% had air purifiers and extra-oral suction systems, respectively, installed in their clinics. As many as 98% were using autoclaves and 71% were performing routine sterilization/disinfection procedures, but only 34% were disinfecting materials such as impression materials and plaster models. A total of 89% percent were seeing patients with hepatitis in their own clinics. Only 29% had knowledge of standard precautions. These results suggest the need for use of goggles or face shields for personal protection, and installation of air purifiers or extra-oral suction systems for environmental control in dental clinics. There is also a need to increase the awareness of standard precautions among dental practitioners.