Educational compliance with infection control practices in dentistry
Dental students are at risk of exposure to pathogens while they become more involved in patient
contact during their training. It is the responsibility of academic institutions to lay the foundation
for safer work practices in dental health care by providing training in infection control to protect
patient’s health and the health of undergraduate students. Studies monitoring occupational injuries
and infection control practices among dental students are necessary to assess the efficacy of infection
control training and facilitate the development of educational interventions to improve adherence
to guidelines and reduce injuries. The objective of this study was to investigate occupational
injuries and compliance with recommended infection control procedures reported by undergraduate
dental students in their final year of The Faculty of Dental Medicine (U.M.F. “Gr.T. Popa” Iaºi).
Method. Data from an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire were analyzed. The questionnaire
included 25 items covering knowledge and attitudes related to disinfection, sterilization, HIV
and HBV, infection control practices and occupational injuries.
Results. Occupational injuries that increase the risk of infection were reported by 40.5% of respondents.
It has been supposed that dental students are at increased risk of occupational injury because
of inexperience in performing invasive procedures. 56.7% of dental students reported more frequent
use of gloves and masks than eye protection and 28.6% of them were aware of correct postexposure
protocols. Educational interventions by implementation of new programs, protocols, techniques,
and devices in controlling occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens are required to
improve handling of sharps, use of barriers and post-exposure follow-up.