STATE AFFILIATE OF THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSISTANTS ASSOCIATION
It's hard to believe that this should even be discussed or questioned but evidently it needs to emphasized.
This article is by permission of Penwell Publishing and by
Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA. Tija is an expanded functions dental assistant/office manager in O'Fallon, Missouri. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute and a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, where she holds a Master. She is also an independent consultant specializing in team building, assistant training, and office organization.
Dental Office Infection Control Myth Busters: Handpieces
I've found that there is so much misinformation out there about infection control in the dental setting. Instead of relying on a good source for information, people tend to "do what they've always done", or, they hear something but never check to see if it's true.
A common myth I hear when I visit dental offices has to do with handpieces and whether they should be sterilized. I've been told, "This is a gray area and not something that has to be done." While it's true that the CDC is clear about handpiece sterilization, the CDC is not a regulatory agency. It doesn't make laws. Rather, it creates guidelines and comes up with recommendations.
I hear that people don't like handpieces to be sterilized because this will ruin the turbine, causing it to need to be replaced often. Turbines are tiny and expensive, so having to frequently change one not only costs money but leaves the office with one less handpiece. This can be a longer period of waiting if the turbines are sent out to be changed. Being short a handpiece is aggravating, to say the least.
What ruins the turbines is not the sterilization process itself, but rather the improper lubrication. There is no way any one of us can deliver lubrication, express the oil, and clean a handpiece the way a lubrication station does. The station delivers the precise amount of oil and cleaner, and using compressed air, it properly expels debris and excess oil while simultaneously lubricating the handpiece. This must be done after each use to ensure that our handpieces are properly lubricated before going through the sterilization process.
Remember that after use, handpieces should never be wiped down with disinfectant. All handpieces should be run under water and brushed with a soft brush to clean off any debris around the head and the fiberoptic light. Once this is completed, the handpiece can be placed in the lubrication station for processing.
When handpieces come out of the autoclave, yes, I realize we are sometimes in a hurry, and sometimes there aren't enough handpieces to go around. And here is a story I hear all too often. The autoclave "dings" and someone rushes to take out the handpiece. The person rips open the package runs the handpiece under cold water to cool it off before rushing it to the operatory to use. STOP! This is hard on the handpiece casing and can cause it to crack.
All instrument that are removed from the autoclave must go through every single cycle, including the drying cycle, before being removed. If you're short on instruments and find yourself cutting corners on infection control to get through the day, then you're doing it wrong. At that point, it's time to have a talk with the dentist abut the need for more instruments to do your jobs properly and deliver the best patient care.
Remember, there is only one way to do infection control and that's the right way!
When you want to go to the authorities on infection control, you need to go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). These are the people who set the guidelines for how we should clean, disinfect, and sterilize our surfaces, instruments and treatment rooms.
SUMMARY HIGHLIGHT FROM 2018 OREGON DENTAL CONFERENCEChemeketa dental assistant students and faculty enjoying the conference.
The Dental Conference was a great success thanks to many individuals who helped in so many ways. First of all was ODAA's Vice President who worked diligently putting our portion of the conference together - dignitaries and speakers. Thank you, Mary.
Cynthia Durley, M.Ed., MBA, DANB and the DALE Foundation
Stacy Bone, EFDA, 200hr YTT
Teresa Haynes, Oregon Board of Dentistry
Ginny Jorgensen, CDA, EFDA, EFODA, AAS
Mariah Kraner, MA, PhD, A-dec
Natalie Kaweckyj, LDA, RF, CDA, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, BA
Celebrating the Value of Dental Assistants
Join the Oregon Dental Assistants Association, DANB and the DALE Foundation as we celebrate the work of dental assistants and the value they bring to dental practices and the oral health community. Network with peers and enjoy a three-course buffet lunch during the Oregon Dental Conference.
Thursday, April 5th, 2018
Oregon Convention Center, Rooms F150-151
11:30 AM - Registration and Networking
12:00 PM - Luncheon
Advanced registration and ticket purchase is required to attend this luncheon. Space is limited and the event will sell out. Purchase your ticket today. Register by 3/22 and receive a DALE Foundation gift bag that includes a certificate for $10 off the DANB ICE Review, DANB ICE Practice Test, DANB RHS Review, DANB RHS Practice Test, or Understanding CDC’s Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings.
Dental Assisting continues to diversify and expand. Whether working chairside with the dentist, exposing and processing radiographs, managing the business office, teaching or working in insurance, or as a sales representative, dental assistants are vital to the success of the dental practice. Contributing to quality dental care, today's dental assistants are role models of professional development, strengthening the entire dental team and enhance patient comfort and satisfaction throughout the world.
Dental Assistants Recognition Week is scheduled March 4 - 10, 2018. A week long tribute to the commitment and dedication dental assistants exhibit throughout the year.
"Dental Assistants: Advancing the Profession through Collaboration and Leadership" is the theme for this years annual Dental Assistants Recognition Week: time for dental assistants to receive greater recognition for their own unique and diverse contributions to the dental profession and the dental health care of the public.
Dental Assistants Recognition Week is sponsored by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) and the Professional Dental Assistants Education Foundation (PDAEF).
I hope your class will have time to plan a fun activity. Join us in observing Dental Assistants Recognition Week 2018!
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