Infection Prevention and Control

Infection Prevention and Control

November 2, 2017

Public Health Ontario (PHO) has released two new documents on Infection Prevention and Control:

  1. Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC): CORE Elements in Dental Practice Settings
  2. Checklist: Reprocessing in the Dental Practice Settings

The College of dentistry is thankful for the chance to work with PHO and the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to make sure these documents address best IPAC practice in dental offices. Both pieces draw widely on our Guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control in the Dental Office.

The College suggests that all members cautiously consider the new checklists and how they may be applied in their practices. As our Guidelines make clear:

“Dentists have an obligation to sustain the standards of practice of the profession and, accordingly, must ensure that suggested infection prevention and control procedures are carried out in their offices. OHCWs [oral health care workers] must maintain current knowledge of infection prevention and control procedures, and apply and maintain them appropriately and consistently. To this end, it is the dentist’s responsibility to ensure that staff are adequately trained in infection prevention and control procedures, and that the necessary supplies and equipment are available, fully operational, up-to-date and routinely monitored for efficacy. In addition to professional obligations, dentists also have an ethical duty to maintain a safe and healthy office environment for both patients and staff, and to adhere to all rules and regulations related to the operation of a dental practice, including workplace health and safety and environmental protection.”

Those “professional obligations” include following public health guidelines as well as the recommendations of manufacturers of sterilization and other dental office equipment to ensure patient safety at all times.

An IPAC working group is meeting to discuss potential changes to our Guidelines. However, the current Guidelines remain in effect. We have had no reports of any dental office that follows the current Guidelines being closed. We expect an updated version will be released next year.

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