Preventing cross infection is one of our top priorities at MODUS Advanced Dental Clinic because we want to protect our patients and team. We regularly check to see that we meeting standards and we look at improvements we can make.
Knowledge and Training
Awareness and knowledge are among the essential requirements for the control and prevention of infection in a dental practice. All of the MODUS Team are aware of the possible processes of the spread of infection from one patient to another.
There are two main aspects of cross infection control and prevention that we look at:
- Our patients – this is hopefully you! The MODUS Team must teach our patients about how they can play their part in stopping the spread of infection from one patient to another. This can be as simple as using hand sanitiser before entering our clinical area and washing their hands after using the toilet.
- Our Clinical Team – this is all of our dentists, hygienists and nurses. We have monthly team meetings where cross infection is discussed. On top of this, it is mandatory for all of our clinical team to complete continuous professional development on cross infection prevent to be able to stay registered with the general dental council (GDC) and continue to do their jobs.
Education and awareness alone are not enough. A practice, must possess an ethical and professional commitment to ensure the control and prevention of cross infection. Education and mindfulness, will, of course, help develop this commitment.
The Standards and Guidelines
Care Quality Commission (CQC) are responsible for providing us with the standards and guidelines for safe practice.. It is then the practices responsibility to implement and maintain them. At MODUS we have Lisa, our practice manager, and Louise, our cross infection lead, who make sure we are working to the highest standard possible. Louise does regular checks on the clinical team and Lisa checks the policies are working through observations and audits. Everything is reviewed and monitored.
What precautions do we have?
We treat every patient the same as if we don’t have any knowledge of their infection status. We do this to minimise the risk of infection transmission.
This is probably the most crucial protective measure against cross-infection in dental practices. Our guidelines state that our clinical team should wash their hands before and after seeing any patients. In addition to this they must wash their hands before and immediately after performing any surgical procedure. For routine examinations and hygienist appointments, washing hands with soap or an alcohol-based detergent can be used. However, for surgical procedures, thorough hand scrubbing along with cleansing under the nails should be performed. To support all of this hand washing we have hand washing posters by every sink that have instructions and diagrams!
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
This including gloves, masks, visors, aprons, gowns, caps and masks are effective in preventing infection transmission in dental practice. Gloves form an adequate barrier and prevent the passage of bacteria from patients’ blood and body fluids. Similarly, masks and eye goggles are highly effective against preventing the transmission of airborne infections.
Proper management of waste
Waste produced during the dental procedures must be disposed of correctly. If it isn’t, it could become a source of infection. We give training on dividing waste into the correct bins and storage before being collected.
Handling and disposal of needles and sharps
A lot of dental procedures require the use of sharp instrument. This can be also act as a source of cross-infection if not disposed of properly. There are processes to ensure all needles and single use sharp instruments are disposed of correctly before they enter our decontamination room. For all sharp instruments that are not single use, procedures are in place to guarantee they are transported, sterilised and stored safely before reusing them on the next patient.
Cleaning, decontamination and sterilisation
The nursing team make anything that could be contaminated is cleaned, decontaminated and sterilised. The practice has a decontamination room where most of the processes happen. A process that is strictly followed. It starts with scrubbing the instruments, then to the ultrasonic cleaner, and finally into one of our autoclaves. All of our equipment is serviced regularly and maintained well. This means we can ensure they are at optimal working condition. Louise also does spot checks at random and findings are discussed at the team meetings.
These devices increase air circulation within the surgery to minimise still air. They also pass the air through a 5 stage purification process to remove 99.99% of all viruses and bacteria from the air. These are an important part of minimising risk to you and our team in the surgeries.
Dental Unit Waterlines
These are another potential source of infection is the waterline. At MODUS Advanced Dental Clinic we treat all of the water going through our dental unit waterlines, we run the water through them several times a day and we test the water coming out. This reduces the amount of biofilm that can result in infection.
The purpose of these measures is for the prevention and control of infection, to create a safe environment for our patients and the members of the MODUS Team. They are an essential part of the everyday duties and we routinely assess them to make sure we are working to the highest standard possible.