In December 2003, the CDC published a major consolidation and update of its infection control recommendations for dentistry
The 2003 document incorporated relevant recommendations that were previously published in several other CDC documents and contained an extensive review of the science related to dental infection control. In March 2016, the CDC issued the new “CDC Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care
Although not intended as a replacement for the 2003 Guidelines document, the new CDC Summary is targeted to “anyone who seeks information about basic infection control in dental settings and includes several new recommendations as well as an assessment checklist.” Although the primary content is essentially unchanged, the new Summary document brings together recommendations from the 2003 CDC guidelines as well as other recommendations published in CDC guidance documents since 2003.
The 2003 CDC Guidelines and 2016 Summary are comprehensive and evidence-based sources for infection control practices relevant to the dental office that have been developed for the protection of dental care workers and their patients. The new resource includes tools to help dental health care personnel follow infection prevention guidelines, including:
- a summary of basic infection prevention principles and recommendations for dental settings;
- a checklist to evaluate dental staff compliance with administrative and clinical practice infection prevention recommendations; and
- key references and resources for each area of focus including sterilization, safe injection practices and hand hygiene in dental settings.
The new recommendations2
emphasize the importance of having one person in every dental practice assigned to be the infection prevention coordinator. The coordinator would develop written infection prevention policies based on evidence-based guidance outlined in the new resource. The coordinator can help ensure that dental health care personnel are aware of the equipment and supplies necessary to address infection prevention issues with all staff members.
The ADA has long advocated the use of infection control procedures in dental practice and provided dentists with resources to help them understand and implement them. The ADA urges all practicing dentists, dental auxiliaries and dental laboratories to employ appropriate infection control procedures as described in the 2003 CDC Guidelines and 2016 CDC Summary and to keep up to date as scientific information leads to improvements in infection control, risk assessment, and disease management in oral health care.