With the onset of Covid-19, infection control and SOPs are highlighted everywhere. However, medical professionals have been practicing the proper methods of infection control and sanitization since the beginning. Dentistry, too, involves taking required precautions to avoid any infection breakouts or any other consequences. Dental assistants play a significant role in infection control, which is a part of their training. Imagine going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning session only to return after contracting an infection — that is exactly what a dental assistant makes sure does not happen.

Importance of Infection Control in Dental Assisting

As a dental assistant, your role in infection control is extremely significant. It’s not just a part of your to-do list — proper and thorough measures for infection control can save someone from falling victim to disease. Below, you will find a list of reasons why infection control in dental assisting is critical:

  1. Protecting Patients & Staff from Health Issues: A significant number of bacteria lives in our mouth. So when treating a patient’s mouth, it is necessary to pay undivided attention. While something may appear seemingly harmless, it could be deadly for others. For instance, direct contact with another person’s saliva could result in sickness and disease. Moreover, in some cases, cross-contamination could occur; when something leftover by one patient transmits to another. A dental assistant can help prevent such issues by:
    • Using single-use items
    • Wearing protective equipment such as gloves
    • Practicing proper handwashing
    • Sterilizing all dental tools
    • Disinfecting dental surfaces
    • Coughing or sneezing with proper etiquette and teaching the patients to do the same
  2. Preventing Viruses and Diseases from Spreading: With proper infection control and sterilization, you can rest assured that the patient will not transmit any diseases to you or other patients. Even better, you will not become the cause of someone else’s disease. Without proper infection control, influenza, measles, strep throat, and other conditions can spread.
  3. Keeping the Reputation of the Dental Office Intact: One slip-up, a minor mistake — and the reputation of the dental clinic goes down the drain. As a dental professional and dental healthcare facility, it is the responsibility of the people involved to allow no room for even a slight error. This is a heavy responsibility with no acceptable justifications. So, if improper infection control leads to a patient falling ill, it will deter people from visiting and affect the reputation of your practice.
  4. Promoting the Knowledge and Enlightening Everyone on Public Good: The dentist and their staff, including the dental assistant, have an obligation to educate the patients on proper dental care as well as oral hygiene. However, you should practice what you teach and implement good health practices everywhere.
  5. Practicing Infection Control: As a dental assistant, you can talk to your senior and implement the following infection control practices in the dental office:
    • The dental team wears Personal Protective Equipment or PPE while treating patients.
    • Implementing physical distancing in the office, keeping in mind the orientation and position of the chairs if you place them six feet apart.
    • Before and after the procedure, the staff should wash their hands in the proper manner. Moreover, encourage the visitors to use sanitizers.
    • Make sure to thoroughly and properly sterilize as well as decontaminate every dental tool or equipment.

What’s Next?

As a dental assistant, you play an essential role in practicing infection control. So, if you’re an aspiring dental assistant, contact Greatwood Dental Assisting Program now at (281) 728-6012 or visit us at 19875 SW Freeway, Suite 120A, Sugar Land, Texas 77479.

Greatwood Dental Assistant Program
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