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The importance of infection control has long been established in the dental world.

Two main reasons are:

  • Dental offices are higher risk in general, because of the amount of time spent in direct proximity to the patient’s mouth and nose while working.
  • Patients cannot wear a mask as it would interfere with the procedure.

Any medical office can face repercussions if they don't have the correct infection control supplies on hand:

  1. Spread of infectious diseases: This one is obvious. Without proper disinfection, sterilization, and barrier protection, pathogens like bacteria and viruses can easily spread from one patient to another, putting the health and safety of both patients and staff at risk.


  1. Compliance violations: Failure to follow recommended protocols and use appropriate supplies can lead to violations of regulatory requirements, which can result in legal and financial penalties.


  1. Reputation damage: Patients may feel unsafe or uncomfortable, leading them to seek treatment elsewhere, and word-of-mouth can spread quickly, potentially causing a decline in business. One Google review with infection control issues can look very bad.


  1. Employee safety concerns: Without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary supplies, staff members can be exposed to infectious agents, leading to illness and injury. Morale also drops when staff don’t feel safe, and that can make things much worse.


  1. Increased costs: Inadequate infection control practices can lead to increased costs due to the need for additional cleaning and disinfection, potential legal fees and fines, and a decline in patient numbers. Investing in the right infection control supplies can help dental offices avoid these costs and protect both their patients and staff.


Looking for more information on IPAC (Infection Control and Prevention) Resources? Here's a link to our extensive list of PDF checklists and informational articles! 


Enough is NOT Enough

Having supplies on hand to mitigate risk is not enough. They must be the right supplies, and they have to be part of a bigger IPAC strategy that will include tested processes of sterilization and disinfection.

Staff need to not only be trained, but also need to be tracked for compliance throughout the entire process.

But this compliance is highly contingent on the supplies they use. IPAC lapses can occur even if the procedures are in place and followed.

Examples of IPAC Lapse Problems With Supplies Solutions

  • You use disinfection wipes, but they are isopropyl based and are not broad spectrum, so they don’t kill mycobacteria like tuberculosis.
    • TB Minuteman is a great solution to this with a one-minute kill time for all broad spectrum claims. Cleanliness and the confidence it brings actually increase employee morale.
  • You sterilize your instruments after procedures, but you don’t carry them to the operatory in a lidded container, increasing risk of infectious particles becoming air-borne or dropping on surfaces.
  • You sterilize your instruments, but you don’t challenge your autoclave effectiveness, so you don’t know if it’s working properly.
  • You evaluate the mechanical + chemical on your instruments and equipment, but you don’t test for biological spores.
  • You have barriers on all your equipment, but you don’t change them after each client.
    • Getting these kinds of supplies for a good price helps the dentist justify the correct usage quantities of infection control supplies.
  • Your water lines don’t get cleaned, shocked, and tested enough, so there’s a chance of biofilm build up inside the lines.
    • Low-cost but effective monitoring and treatment products with clear instructions will eliminate much of the background reasons for any lapse there.
  • You don’t have a backflow preventer on your suction line.
    • Not knowing about backflow on LVE lines makes it impossible to do anything about it, but adding a check valve after the shut off valve decreases the chance of cross-patient contamination.
  • You have a workflow for reprocessing, but it’s not technically one-way, so there’s a chance of re-contamination at a later step.
  • You sterilize your instruments after procedures, but you don’t keep a thorough digitized record of what was done, so you can’t know for sure something was sent through the autoclave.

So how do you implement the right supplies, used by properly trained staff, whose compliance is recorded, into your dental office’s standard operating procedures?

You may need a specialist to come in and audit your office to see if you’ve got the right setup, the right procedures, and the right supplies. Many dental professionals hire out accountants, interior designers, IT, lab technicians, and the like, because they know they just can’t do these jobs themselves. It might be fruitful to also hire someone to help with the sterilization and instrument reprocessing procedures.