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Oral Health Topics

Infection Control

Key Points

  • Since 1993, the ADA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated and supplemented their infection control recommendations to reflect new scientific knowledge and growing understanding of the principles of infection control.
  • A 2016 CDC document, “CDC Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care” brings together recommendations from the CDC 2003 guidelines on infection control with tools and checklists to help dental health care personnel follow infection prevention guidelines.
  • 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.
  • Along with the proper sterilization of instruments and materials, sterilizer monitoring is an essential part of any in-office infection control program (for information on instrument and equipment sterilization, consult "Sterilization and Disinfection of Dental Instruments" in the ADA Roadmap to CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings).
  • The CDC advises that when reprocessing handpieces that are independent of air and waterlines, such as cordless devices, dentists follow current U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory policies by not only confirming that the device is cleared by the FDA but also following the FDA-validated manufacturer's instructions for reprocessing these devices.
Prepared by: Center for Scientific Information, ADA Science Institute
Topic Updated: June 26, 2018


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