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ADA Statement on Infection Control Procedures in Dental Settings

Contact Information:

Telephone: 312-440-2806
E-mail: mediarelations@ada.org (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

CHICAGO, July 2, 2010—In light of recent developments at the Missouri VA Medical Center in St. Louis, the American Dental Association (ADA) understands that there may be heightened interest in infection control procedures in dental settings.

The ADA has long recommended that all practicing dentists, dental auxiliaries and dental laboratories employ standard precautions as described in the 2003 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control in Dental Health Care Settings guidelines. Infection control procedures are designed to protect patients and health care workers by preventing the spread of diseases like hepatitis and HIV.  Examples of infection control in the dental office include the use of masks, gloves, surface disinfectants and sterilizing reusable dental devices. In addition, dental health care providers are expected to follow procedures as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The ADA urges its members to keep up to date as scientific information leads to improvements in infection control, risk assessment and disease management in oral health care.

Patients who have questions about infection control in the dental setting should talk with their dentists, who will be glad to explain their procedures.  More information on infection control in dental offices is available online at ADA.org.