During the current Covid-19 pandemic it has become increasingly important to remain up-to-date with the latest infection control protocols, recommendations and mandates. A dental infection control coordinator is now a must in all dental offices. The sheer number of "authorities" offering opinions regarding practical infection control procedures is overwhelming. New and unique infection control recommendations have been forthcoming on a weekly basis from local, national, and international sources; many without any regulatory authority whatsoever, but with an agenda to promote extending beyond patient care and safety. Individuals, as well as organizations, have proffered opinions and advice regarding appropriate measures to implement in dental offices. These have included ideas for enhanced sterilization procedures, extending appointment times, limiting office visitors, air purification, limiting aerosol procedures, eliminating coronal polishing, fit testing N-95 masks, screening for Covid symptoms, treating only emergency patients, increased use of disposables, and the list goes on.
Many of the recommendations have been suggested by groups such as dental hygiene societies and state dental associations, which have no regulatory authority, but are forwarded to promote the health and safety of their members. Still other stake holders, such as manufacturers and product suppliers, have promoted the increased use of their products, whether the suggestions were backed by reliable science or were clinically significant or not. In the midst of all of this confusion, legitimate authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state health authorities, have issued a succession of changing standards regarding disease prevention and infection control measures.
It is increasingly necessary that every dental office have an individual assigned to remain abreast of the latest authoritative recommendations from the CDC and other health authorities. This dental infection control coordinator is an essential team member who can oversee the implementation of the latest protocols to assure that the office is implementing procedures that are effective and reliable for the safety of patients and staff.
In support of the dental infection control coordinator all dental staff members should take a specific 2-hour bi-annual continuing education refresher course Infection Control course (required by the State of California and others). This is in addition to the two other California-required courses: California Practice Act and OSHA Review that are available for immediate download