Infection Control Policy
Infection control is of prime importance in this practice. Every member of staff receives training in all aspects of infection control, including decontamination of dental instruments and equipment, as part of their induction programme and through regular updated training, at least annually.
The following policy describes the routines for our practice, which must be followed at all times. If there is any aspect that is not clear, please ask Peter Doorey (principal dentist), or Kirsty Bate (decontamination lead). All our staff know this policy and are able to answer any questions from patients about the infection control within this practice
Minimising blood-borne virus transmission
All staff are immunised against hepatitis B; records of Hepatitis B seroconversion will be held securely by the practice owner to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
Records of these examinations will be held securely by the practice to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
Decontamination of instruments and equipment
Single use instruments and equipment must be identified and disposed of safely and never reused.
All re-usable instruments must be decontaminated after use to ensure they are safe to be re-used. Gloves and eye protection must be worn when handling and cleaning used instruments (refer to single use instruments policy).
Before being used, all new dental instruments must be decontaminated fully according to the manufacturer’s instructions and within the limits of the facilities available at the practice. Those that require manual cleaning must be identified. Wherever possible, the practice will purchase instruments that can withstand automated cleaning processes using a washer-disinfector or an ultrasonic cleaner (refer to new & re-usable instruments policy).
At the end of each patient treatment, instruments are be transferred to the decontamination area for reprocessing. The practice procedure for transferring used instruments and equipment can be found in the practice decontamination manual.
“Staff are appropriately trained to ensure they are competent to decontaminate existing and new reusable dental instruments. Records of this training are kept in individual staff folders”.
Instruments are cleaned using an automated washer disinfector, when this is not possible instruments are manually following use of an ultra-sonic bath or an enzymatic pre-soak (Gigasept) in the baths which are stored in the decontamination area. The practice policy for the required method of instrument cleaning must be followed. The policies can be found in the practice decontamination manual.
After cleaning, inspect instruments for residual debris and check for any wear or damage using task lighting and a magnifying device. If present, residual debris should be removed and the instrument re-cleaned.
Instruments should be loaded to allow steam to contact with all surfaces (avoid overloading) and follow manufacturer’s instructions for use. Where instruments are to be stored for use at a later date, they should be wrapped in pouches, which are then dated and labelled to allow easy identification. Storage should not exceed 21 days; after this, instruments must be reprocessed. Instruments for same-day use do not require wrapping.
Work surfaces and equipment
“The patient treatment area is cleaned at the start of a session, in-between patients & at the end of every session using an alcohol-free hard surface disinfectant, alcohol-free hard surface disinfectant wipes & disposable paper towels – cleaning takes place even if the area appears uncontaminated”.
Between patient treatments, the local working area and items of equipment must be cleaned using alcohol-free hard surface disinfectant spray/wipes and disposable paper towels This will include work surfaces, dental chair, inspection light and handles, hand controls, delivery units, spittoons, aspirators and, if used, x-ray units and controls. Other equipment that may have become contaminated must also be cleaned.
In addition, cupboard doors, other exposed surfaces (such as dental inspection light fittings) and floor surfaces with the surgery are cleaned daily.
Hand hygiene Policy
The practice policy on hand hygiene must be followed routinely.
Nails must be short and clean and free of nail art, permanent or temporary enhancements (false nails) or nail varnish. Nails can be cleaned using a blunt “orange” stick.
Wash hands using liquid soap between each patient treatment and before donning and after removal of gloves. Follow the hand-washing techniques displayed at each hand wash sink. Scrub or nail brushes must not be used; they can cause abrasion of the skin where micro-organisms can reside. Ensure that paper towels and drying techniques do not damage the skin.
Alcohol-based hand-rubs/gels can be used instead of hand-washing between patients during surgery sessions if the hands appear visibly clean. It should be applied using the same techniques as for hand-washing. The product recommendations for the maximum number of applications should not be exceeded. If hands become “sticky”, they must be washed using liquid soap.
At the end of each session and following hand-washing, apply the hand cream provided to counteract dryness. Do not use hand cream under gloves; it can encourage the growth of microorganisms.
The non-clinical areas of the practice are cleaned by the domestic cleaner in line with the practice policy which can be found in the decontamination manual.
Cleaning equipment is stored outside patient care areas in the storage cupboard.
Records of cleaning protocols and audits/checks on its efficacy are retained in the tick-list folder in the office or in the storage container in the cellar.