registered dental assistant and
earned a bachelor’s degree in
health-care administration from
Saint Joseph’s College. She
graduated from the Nashville School
of Law with a doctorate in
jurisprudence and is licensed to
practice law in Tennessee. In 2000,
she founded Modern Practice
Solutions, which is dedicated to the
compliance issues of dental
practices. For more information visit
DentalCompliance TN.com or send
an e-mail to olivia@Olivia Wann.com.
1. Guidelines for Infection Control in
Dental Health-Care Settings—2003.
Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of
Health and Human Services; 2003.
2. OSHA and CDC Guidelines: Combining Safety with Infection Control and
Prevention for Dentistry. 4th ed. Atlanta,
GA: Organization for Safety, Asepsis
requiring office employees to resort
to hand scrubbing. Cleaning monitor strips that contain a test soil,
which mimics the presence of blood
and tissue, can be used for testing.
For example, ultrasonic cleaning
monitor strips assess cavitation,
time, temperature, and amount of
detergent. If the test soil is removed,
then you can be assured that the
ultrasonic is operating properly.
Test at least daily.
Adherence—When you review
the CDC summary, know that it is
key to assess your office’s adherence
to each element. The tools provided
in the summary, including the
checklist, can empower your staff
to get back to the basics and implement a thorough infection control
and prevention program. RDH
OLIVIA WANN, JD, RDA, attended
Tennessee Technology Center as a
instrument management cassettes,
we can minimize how often dental
office employees handle contaminated instruments and thereby
reduce the potential for injuries.
Rather than handling the contaminated instruments again to place
them in the ultrasonic or instrument washer, place the entire cassette into the unit for automatic
cleaning. Cassettes also minimize
breakage of instrument tips.
Automatic cleaning is preferred
instead of hand scrubbing, although
some express concern that instruments are not clean enough with
automatic cleaning. One of the challenges I’ve observed is that the
worker might not have time to
immediately clean the operatory
and process instruments if he or
she needs to go to the next exam
room where a patient is waiting.
I’ve observed up to a two-hour
delay in instrument processing in
large, busy practices.
In these situations, you may find
it helpful to use an enzymatic spray
gel. This product prevents blood
and body fluids from drying onto
the instruments and prevents the
need for a presoak. It also works as
a corrosion inhibitor. Otherwise,
prepare a holding solution with an
Enzymatic cleaners—For your
ultrasonic unit, use a dual-enzymat-ic detergent that contains a corrosion inhibitor, such as Steelgard, to
protect against harmful minerals
found in water that contribute to
buildup, spotting, and corrosion.
Whether you use an ultrasonic
unit or an automatic instrument
washer, test the performance. If the
unit is not functioning properly, the
cleaning process may be ineffective,