Personal protective equipments (PPE) has become a normal in today’s medical and dental field due to advent in covid – 19 disease. Surgery clothing is used ass well. Also includes immunisation, protection of hands, eye and face, protective clothing and the avoidance and appropriate management of inoculation (sharps and splash) injuries.
Vaccination and protection offered
This plays an important role for the benefit of health care workers. Must take vaccines for dental professional are –
Diphtheria – Probably lifelong
Tetanus – At least 10 years but probably lifelong
Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – Probably lifelong
Poliomyelitis – Probably lifelong
Measles, Mumps, Rubella – Probably lifelong
Varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox) – Varies, but on average at least 10 years.
Influenza Annual – Vaccinations required
Tuberculosis (BCG) – Probably less than lifelong in most recipients
Hepatitis B – At least 5 years but probably lifelong
Vaccination for Covid is the new addition in the above list.
Hands of dental personnel are potentially one of the most vulnerable areas of the body to infectious disease and also may be a potential vector for infection. Both glove wearing and handwashing plays and important role. Method of gloving and handwashing steps should be followed thoroughly.
Gloves – Gloves are an essential part of infection control in dentistry. They provide a physical barrier which protects the hands from the ingress of microorganisms and should be worn for all dental procedures. They are a single-use item, a new pair should be used for each patient and they should be changed when torn.
Eye and Face
The eye can be contaminated by patients who cough pooled saliva and blood from the floor of the mouth into the face of the operators (this is called ‘splatter’). Thus its important to protect the eyes of the operator and assistant. Eyes can also be contaminated from aerosols generated from the mouth when high-speed instruments are used with coolants. 30% of patients will have significant numbers of herpes simplex type 1 virus in the mouth, even in the absence of obvious herpetic lesions, the risk of infection is high. Herpetic infections of the eye have a significant chance of causing blindness, and this has been documented in a number of dental personnel in the UK. Protective glasses with side protection should be worn for all dental procedures. Visor can be worn as well.
Mask and Respirators
This is one of the most important gadget to be worn to protect aerosols entering mouth and nose of the operator. Ever since the covid pandemic masks such as N95, respirators etc for better protection.
After the procedure, its important to disinfect the clinic area. UV chambers, fumigation are carried out to break the chain of infection. Asepis of operatory area including dental chair and other area, autoclaving of instruments plays an important role as well.
Article by Dr. Siri P.B.