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Twenty-five years ago the ADA Foundation's Health Screening Program helped identify HBV as an occupational hazard in dentistry. The ADA responded by being the first to recommend that dentists follow standard infection control procedures. The ADA subsequently worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop CDC's own infection control recommendations for dentistry, which were issued in 1993. Since then, both the ADA and CDC have updated and supplemented their recommendations from time to time to reflect new scientific knowledge and growing understanding of the principles of infection control.

In December 2003, the CDC published a major consolidation and update of its infection control recommendations for dentistry (PDF).1 Although the procedures recommended in the 2003 document are for the most part unchanged, the new document does incorporate relevant recommendations that were previously scattered throughout several other CDC publications and contains an extensive review of the science related to dental infection control.

The 2003 CDC Guidelines are a comprehensive and evidence-based source for infection control practices relevant to the dental office that have been developed for the protection of dental care workers and their patients. 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 to keep up-to-date as scientific information leads to improvements in infection control, risk assessment and disease management in oral health care.

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. In addition to the online resources available at ADA.org, the Association has a number of publications that provide detailed information about infection control and treatment of patients with infectious diseases. These include Dental Management of the HIV-Infected Patient and ADA Catalog products, including the Effective Infection Control training DVD (P692), the ADA Regulatory Compliance Manual and the OSHA Training for Dental Professionals DVD (P889).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings (PDF) – 2003. MMWR 2003;52(No. RR-17)

Adopted March 2004

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