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    4 extreme measures taken in the name of infection control

    Sometimes dental practices make their lives more difficult than they need to.


    Rule following

    Extreme rule following

    There are plenty of rules to follow when it comes to infection control. However, practices need to make sure they’re following the rules appropriate to them.

    “In 2003, the CDC came out with their guidelines for the dental office,” Braendle says. “And then, in 2016, there was an update. When you’re a regular dental office, the CDC makes these guidelines. They don’t have enforcement police. There is no one who goes around from office to office and shows you a badge and says, ‘I’m from CDC in Atlanta and I’m here to check your infection control protocols.’

    “Each individual state has the option of adopting their own infection control guidelines, or they adopt CDC guidelines, and that’s where the enforcement comes in,” he continues. “The state can come in and say, ‘Hey, are you doing these things?’”

    Related article: 5 benefits of good infection control

    But some facilities are governed by another authority altogether.

    “There is a regulatory group called the Joint Commission,” Braendle explains. “Those people will come in and go through an office and make sure you are doing everything as far as Joint Commission is concerned. Right now, those are only federal dental facilities, state-run dental facilities, and – as of last year – military facilities.”

    But Joint Commission doesn’t establish the rules for everyone, and sometimes that is misunderstood.

    “Where it really gets weird is when you go to these dental meetings, and every once in a while, you’ll have one of these federal people up there teaching a class or a seminar about the things that you should do or not do,” Braendle says. “And when they’re talking to a group of GPs, you almost want to run up and say, ‘Shut up. Know your audience. Not everybody is subject to Joint Commission. They’re not a government-run organization. Everything you’re telling them they have to do, they don’t have to do any of that stuff.’

    “If there gets to be anymore blurring of who is responsible for what, sometimes these offices are left in the lurch,” he continues. “They listen to these speakers and think, ‘I’m going to have to do this.’ Well, no you don’t. Those are the guidelines that you have to work under.”

    The most prevalent problem we hear about in infection control is practices not doing what they should do. On the flipside of that coin, sometimes practices are doing too much. At best, they’re making their own work more difficult. At worst, they may be causing additional problems.


    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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