Staying Up-to-Date on Infection Control

Going over the resources that you need to stay on top of infection control matters in your practice.

As with anything in healthcare, subjects are rarely final when schooling or certification is done. Issues continue to evolve and may change countless times throughout a professional’s career. One need look no further than the pandemic to see how things can be in a seemingly endless state of flux.

Continuing education is a good (not to mention mandatory) way to stay on top of one’s profession. However, there are other resources that can help dental professionals keep up with the times.

We’ve assembled a handful of resources to help with that.

American Dental Association

The American Dental Association (ADA) website is a great place to start to keep up on issues currently facing dental practices.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and health education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.

While the CDC’s website, as a whole, is a great resource, there are specific locations within the main site that are well worth their own mention:

  • Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings - 2003. The cornerstone for infection control in the dental practice starts with the CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Healthcare Settings – 2003. The document covers seemingly every facet of infection prevention and is the go-to reference for such issues.
  • Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings. CDC supplemented it’s 2003 document in 2016 with its Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings. It includes a printable checklist that can be used to assess adherence to basic expectations for dental care. Team members can even pull up the list on their phone or iPad and check boxes and add notes.
  • CDC search box. However, if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that infection control can be somewhat of a moving target. To keep current and find more in-depth information, possibly the most beneficial part of the CDC website is its search box. Rather than sift through hundreds of pages to find the one nugget of information you’re looking for, this tool will help locate that information.
  • News updates. “It goes without saying that this is the primary source for infection control,” Mary Bartlett, President SafeLink Consulting says. “The office manager or infection prevention coordinator could sign up to receive certain news information from CDC.”
  • Foundations. CDC Division of Oral Health has released a new training resource, Foundations: Building the Safest Dental Visit. “This online, self-paced training is designed to provide an overview of the basic expectations for safe care – the principles of infection prevention and control that form the basis for CDC recommendations for dental healthcare settings,” reads the CDC’s website. “The Foundations training is designed to educate dental healthcare personnel, infection prevention coordinators, educators, consultants, and others that want to understand the science and methods of infection prevention and control in dental healthcare settings. The training is available at no cost to learners through CDC TRAIN. CDC partnered with OSAP to increase the reach and utility of this training. OSAP will also be providing 3 free ADA CERP CE credit hours for learners who complete the Foundations training.”
  • COCA. CDC’s Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) is a resource to disseminate information during times of crisis. According to the CDC, “COCA provides timely, accurate, and credible information to clinicians related to emergency preparedness and response and emerging public health threats. COCA fosters partnerships with national clinician organizations to strengthen information-sharing networks before, during, and after a public health emergency.

COCA helps to strengthen the emergency response capacity of clinicians by:

  1. Disseminating evidence-based health information and public health emergency messages to clinicians
  2. Collaborating with clinicians to develop communication strategies that support health risk reduction opportunities during public emergencies
  3. Providing and promoting emergency preparedness and response training opportunities for clinicians.”


The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).

“This is a must have membership!” Joyce Moore, RDH, CRCST, an infection control consultant and clinical instructor at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts says. “They have a link to Covid-19 info on the main web page, 2x yearly conferences (Boot Camp in January and Annual Conference in June), a publication (ICIP - Infection Control in Practice) which has great real-life scenarios, a weekly email update (InfoBites), Continuing Education Center , the Official OSAP Podcast, and the ability to ask the questions.”

Says the OSAP website, “OSAP is the only non-profit membership association for oral health care professionals that focuses exclusively on infection prevention and patient and provider safety. We support our members and the oral health care community by offering evidence-based education, training, and certification, an extensive collection of online resources, and by collaborating with individuals, agencies, and organizations to assure the safe and infection-free delivery of oral healthcare to all.”

  • COVID-19 toolkit. Like many other organizations, responding to the pandemic, OSAP offers its own COVID 19 tool kit to aid with infection prevention efforts. 
  • Ask OSAP. Within the OSAP website, specific information can be found by using their “Ask OSAP” tool. Members can search a repository of over 2,000 questions and answers. The tool helps locate information from resources that may already be in print. It also offers the ability to browse FAQs and responses that have been previously submitted. If the information cannot be found on the website, OSAP experts are on standby to research the question using current standards and textbooks and respond within 3 to 5 business days. This service is free to OSAP members, but is $25 for non-members.
  • Breaking news. This section of the OSAP website contains infection control and safety news, recent events and community news. It is updated daily with news and infection prevention updates. The practice’s infection control coordinator can utilize Breaking News to keep his or her dental team updated on relevant current events. Some resources are available for anyone, but Moore highly recommends becoming a member. “There is information for non-members,” she says. “With a membership, you're going to gain the ability to get CE that's included. You're getting a reduction in registration fees for conferences, Ask OSAP, and everything else they have to offer. It’s well worth the membership fee.”

Dental Infection Control Education and Certification

OSAP, The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) and The Dental Advancement through Learning and Education Foundation (the DALE Foundation) teamed up to provide infection control education certification.

“There are many medical certifications that can be earned, but until this point there have been no certifications within the dental realm,” Moore says. “I believe that the process of earning both a certificate and certifications will become the expectation moving forward in the dental field.”

Of its educational component, the website says, “Increase your knowledge and boost your credibility by earning the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate. The assessment-based certificate program was developed by the leaders in the field to help you elevate your infection control expertise and demonstrate your commitment to patient safety. This three-step program is convenient and flexible to fit your schedule.”

Of it’s certification component, it says, “You’ve got the education and experience. Now, you can showcase your professional knowledge and experience in dental infection control. DANB collaborated with OSAP to develop two new dental infection control certifications: the Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification and the Dental Industry Specialist in Infection Prevention and Control (DISIPC) certification. Set yourself apart – and advance your career and enhance patient safety.”


Environmental protection agency published a list of disinfectants best used to combat SARS-CoV-2. 


From the website, “The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to save lives, prevent injuries, and protect the health of America’s workers.”

Most every workplace is aware they must follow OSHA standards for employee safety. And if the rules and regulations seem mystical, they shouldn’t. OSHA has a website that explains what practices must do to keep their employees safe.

OSHA is, of course, a federal agency, however almost half of the states have their own “state plans”.

According to OSHA, “State Plans are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. There are currently 22 State Plans covering both private sector and state and local government workers, and there are six State Plans covering only state and local government workers. State Plans are monitored by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA in protecting workers and in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.”

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health

“CareQuest and OSAP brought a group of subject matter experts together, and they published a document of best practices for infection control in dental clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moore explains. She was a member of the team preparing the document. “The group broke into sections, and we pulled together the American Dental Association, OSHA, and CDC guidance and dropped it all into one in one document, because of course there's so much information coming out.”


MJH Life Sciences (the publisher of Dental Products Report) offers more than 4 dozen different publications for healthcare professionals. Within our family of periodicals, there are a handful that are specifically relevant to dental infection prevention efforts.

  • Dental Products Report – Providing dentists with comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased information across the spectrum of specialties, Dental Products Report provides readers with quality editorial content, such as peer reviews, technique guides, and articles on the latest advances in equipment, materials, supplies, and services in the dental industry. 
  • Dental Practice Management – Dental Practice Management focuses on the products, technologies, materials, services, and workflows advancing oral care. The content is aimed at dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, office managers, laboratory technicians, and the executives running group practices and labs. 
  • Modern Hygienist – Offering a holistic approach to dentistry, highlighting new and upcoming advancements that shape the industry. We offer an in-depth look into the world of the modern hygienist and how these dental professionals trying to improve patient care. 
  • Infection Control Today – Addressing the most pertinent infection prevention principles and practices, Infection Control Today specializes in content for health care professionals working in the infection control, sterile processing, and environmental services departments and operating rooms of acute-care hospitals.