Thursday, October 31, 2019

How to prevent infections in dental surgery

Virus, bacteria, spores. These are the three main vehicles of infection in dental surgeries. The aerosol produced in the surgery, transporting pathogens and organic residue, increases by up to 3,000% the concentration of micro-organisms in the air, making the operator’s hands and the operating field areas at high exposure, with the consequent risk of infection for both the patient and the surgery operatives. The aerosol favors the re-circulation of these micro-organisms and, consequently, the environment may remain contaminated for a long time.

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Bouts of cough, sneezing and special therapy contribute to releasing particles of various diameters into the air. From those with a diameter of between 10 and 50 micron, which stop in the nose and upper airway, to the smaller ones, with diameter of between 0.5 and 5 micron in diameter, which can reach the bronchioles and pulmonary alveoli, via the ones measuring 5-10 micron in diameter, which reach the pharynx and trachea.

The anti-infection best practices in the dental surgery

It is therefore quite easy to understand how, in order to guarantee superior hygiene standards within a dental surgery facility, the use of effective prevention methods and instruments is just as important as the surgery operatives’ training.

There are a few best practices for proper prevention:

1)    treating each patient like a potential source of infection, thereby using all the precautions and protection systems available
2)    respect precise protocols for the disinfection and sterilization of the surgery and of the instruments used, using dedicated denture disinfection products and repeatable and standardized procedures.

The choice of products to use for the surgery and instruments is a delicate and important task. Obviously, it depends on the activity the product is to be used for. Indeed, a distinction must be made between cleaning, decontamination and sterilization.

Cleaning, decontamination and sterilization in the dental surgery

Cleaning is the mechanical removal of organic material from the surface of instruments and equipment. Decontamination is used to mean the elimination of all micro-organisms with the exception of spores, for which sterilization is necessary, a procedure that eliminates all micro-organisms, no exception.

Each one of these three activities requires specific protocols and products. Products for disinfection absolve cleaning and decontamination tasks, while an autoclave is required for sterilization.

This is a guest blog entry.

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