You’re probably aware of the concerning reports regarding negligent dental practices in NSW. It’s alleged that the dental practices in question didn’t effectively sterilise their instruments between patients, which may have exposed their patients to unnecessary risks of cross-infection. The practices involved have been named and shamed for poor infection control and their dentists penalised for failure to uphold national standards.
We at National Dental Care want you to know that your safety is our highest priority. Here are our comprehensive infection control practices.
What is infection control?
In a dental context, infection control is paramount. Strict guidelines exist to prevent cross-infection of disease-producing micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. These transmissions can occur patient to patient, dentist to patient and patient to dentist/dental staff.
With contemporary hygiene control improving with each year, we’re now able to combat micro and evasive infectious organisms, e.g., the proteins smaller than a whole virus which cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, otherwise known as ‘mad cow disease’.
Infection occurs either via direct exposure to blood and secretions, exposure to droplets containing infectious agents, or via an injury by a non-sterile sharp instrument. The main infection concerns in dentistry are Hepatitis viruses, Herpes viruses, HIV and respiratory viruses.
Dentistry often involves invasive procedures which can cause your gums or mouth to bleed. In the 1980’s, with the onset of HIV/AIDS, the dental industry established strict precautions to protect dental practitioners and patients alike from cross-infection. Because it’s not always possible to identify someone as a carrier of an infectious agent, each patient is treated as if they are a carrier of disease. This is what we refer to as ‘universal precautions’.
National Dental Care’s infection control protocols
At National Dental Care, we observe the highest standards of infection control as our commitment to quality and safety. We adhere to all industry guidelines as prescribed by the Australian and New Zealand Dental authority bodies.
National Dental Care Universal Infection Control procedures
- We seek to thoroughly understand our patients’ medical history.
- We protect our staff from injury and infection with personal hygiene measures.
- We use personal protective equipment – gloves, masks, eyewear, clinic clothing and recommended vaccination of all clinical staff.
- We clean and disinfect our surgeries and work surfaces, using barrier protection wherever possible.
- We decontaminate and sterilise all of our instruments.
- We ensure proper disposal of clinical and sharp waste.
National Dental Care Internal Infection Control procedures
- We regularly train our clinical team in the most up-to-date infection-control procedures.
- We use the latest instrument sterilisation equipment and technology.
- We regularly service our equipment and check their function.
- We use only premium quality autoclaves from leading brands.
- We simplify our workflow to minimise instrument handling and reduce risk of injury.
- We clean, wash or thermally disinfect and then sterilise all our instruments.
- We store our sterile instruments away from external contaminants such as dust.
- We track sterilisation of our instruments and steriliser cycles to aid quick recall of batches where sterility cannot be confirmed.
- We wrap our chairs, light handles and all instruments and equipment in plastic.
All our practices are currently undergoing the process of Accreditation. This is done through the independent national accreditation body: Quality In Practice and seeks to formally recognise the quality of our service and commitment to health and safety.
We believe in continual improvement and ensure our practices stay up to date with all emerging infection control protocols. We want to keep you in the loop, so if you have any questions about infection control or another aspect of our practice, contact your nearest National Dental Care practice or email us at email@example.com.
You can book an appointment online with your National Dental Care practitioner here.