Author(s): Yengopal V, Naidoo S, Chikte UM
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Abstract The general fear, superstition and alarm surrounding HIV/AIDS warrant that the highest standards of care be available to our patients. A survey on infection control was undertaken in Durban to assess the current state of infection control procedures among dentists in private practice. A self-administered 44-item questionnaire was hand-delivered to a random sample of 75 dentists (31.3\%)--see comments in Methods--in private practice. The response rate was 90.7\% (68 dentists). The routine use of gloves, masks, and protective eyewear was reported by 97.1\%, 82.4\% and 52.9\% of dentists respectively. Although 89.7\% of dentists had autoclaves in their practices, only 45.2\% autoclaved their high speed handpieces and 39.7\% their slow handpieces. Almost 60\% of dentists did not use rubber dam at all whilst 46.3\% did not disinfect impressions before sending them to the laboratory. Approximately 6\% of respondents reported re-using local anaesthetic cartridges and 1.5\% re-used needles. Needlestick injuries in the previous six months were reported by 13.8\% of dentists but two thirds of them did not follow any specific protocol after injury. Almost 90 per cent of dentists were immunised against Hepatitis B but more than 60\% of their staff were not. The results of the study showed that adherence to universally accepted guidelines for infection control remain low amid a climate of an ever-increasing HIV pandemic.
This article was published in SADJ
and referenced in Family Medicine & Medical Science Research