Current Oral Health Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 184–188 | Cite as

Update on Infection Control Compliance Issues for Dental Practitioners

  • Patricia PodolakEmail author
Dental Public Health (R Collins, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Dental Public Health


Purpose of Review

This article outlines major findings and resources from the past three years that relate to dental patient safety, infection control noncompliance factors and antibiotic resistance, and it discusses options available to help improve dental practitioner infection control compliance.

Recent Findings

Recent findings have identified the need for further research in the field of patient safety in dentistry; dental infection control noncompliance factors illustrate a need to strategize for improved infection control compliance, best practices for antibiotic prescribing in dentistry have been issued; and updated dental infection control resources are available.


Through social media and mainstream news accounts, the public is increasingly aware of, and concerned about, dental-related infection control breaches. By understanding the compliance issues that lead to infection control breaches, practitioners can better maintain public trust and meet their patients’ expectation for safe oral healthcare. This article outlines major findings and resources from the past 3 years that relate to dental patient safety, infection control compliance factors, and antibiotic resistance, and includes an overview of updated dental infection control resources available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), and American Dental Association (ADA).


Dentistry Patient safety Infection control Antibiotic resistance Compliance 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Patricia Podolak DDS MPH, declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

  1. 1.
    WNBC New York. Dentist linked to bacterial outbreak agrees to improve sanitation practices. 2016. Accessed January 26, 2017.
  2. 2.
    • Peralta G, et al. Notes from the field: Mycobacterium abscessus infections among patients of a pediatric dentistry practice—Georgia, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Apr 8;65(13):355–6. This article pertains to a cluster of pediatric Mycobacterium abscessus odontogenic infections at a pediatric dental practice in Georgia where 500 patients were potentially affected. It highlights the importance of infection control compliance in preventing infections associated with dental unit waterlines . Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    American Dental Association. Science in the News. Nontuberculosis mycobacterial infection linked to pulpotomy procedures and possible dental waterline contamination reported in California and Georgia. 2016. Accessed January 26, 2017.
  4. 4.
    Orange County Health Care Agency. 2016. County health officer issues order mandating the closure of the Children’s Dental Group of Anaheim. 2016 http://us4campaign-archive1com/?u=2f2593b644c191a74f2a4d25a&id=510c92ff8f&e=88d3b94db3 Accessed January 27, 2017.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Orange County Health Care Agency. Dental outbreak (Mycobacterium). 2017. Accessed January 27, 2017.
  6. 6.
    WXOW. Nearly 600 vets affected by questionable dental practices at Tomah VA. 2017. Accessed January 27, 2017.
  7. 7.
    Eklund K, Marianos D. Providing a safe environment for dental care in an era of infectious diseases. J Am Dent Assoc. 2013;144(12):1330–2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, et al., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for infection control in dental healthcare settings: 2003. MMWR Recomm Rep, 1. 2003;52(RR-17):–61.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    World Health Organization. Definitions of key concepts from the WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide (2011). 2012. Accessed January 28, 2017.
  10. 10.
    • Bailey E, et al. Systematic review of patient safety interventions in dentistry. BMC Oral Health. 2015;15:152. The authors concluded that there is an opportunity and need for further research regarding patient safety in dentistry . Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ensaldo-Carrasco E, et al. Patient safety incidents and adverse events in ambulatory dental care: a systematic scoping review. J Patient Saf. 2016 Sep;8Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Obadan E, et al. Lessons learned from dental patient safety case reports. J Am Dent Assoc. 2015;146:318–326.e2.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rooney D, et al. Data collection for adverse events reporting by US dental schools. Patient Saf. 2016 Dec;30Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    • Cleveland JL, et al. Advancing infection control in dental care settings: factors associated with dentists’ implementation of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. J Am Dent Assoc. 2012 Oct;143(10):1127–38. This study was a major review that examined factors associated with dentists' implementation of infection control guidelines from the CDC. It concluded that implementation of the four recommendations varied among U.S. dentists, and it offered strategies for improving compliance with current and future CDC guidelines . Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cleveland JL, et al. Transmission of blood-borne pathogens in US dental health care settings: 2016 update. J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 Sep;147(9):729–38.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Medscape. Preventing disease transmission in dental settings. 2017. Accessed on February 10, 2017.
  17. 17.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About antimicrobial resistance. 2015. Accessed February 11, 2017.
  18. 18.
    ADA News. CDC epidemiologist highlights antibiotic overuse at ADA CE course. 2015. Accessed February 11, 2107.
  19. 19.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, OSAP issue best practices for dentists prescribing antibiotics. 2016. Accessed February 11, 2017.
  20. 20.
    • Fluent MT, et al. Considerations for responsible antibiotic use in dentistry. J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 Aug;147(8):683–6. This article discusses the responsible use of antibiotics in dentistry, and outlines best practices for better antibiotic stewardship in dentistry . Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of infection prevention practices in dental settings basic expectations for safe care. 2016. Accesssed February 15, 2017.
  22. 22.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection prevention & control guidelines & recommendations. 2016. Accessed February 15, 2017.
  23. 23.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC DentalCheck: infection prevention & control checklist application. 2017. Accessed February 15, 2017.
  24. 24.
    Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. OSAP home page. 2017. Accessed February 17, 2017.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Springhurst Associates, LLCProspectUSA

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