Infection Control in Dentistry
Adopted by the FDI General Assembly: 18 September
In general the receiving or delivery of appropriate oral
care and of associated procedures are safe. Current epidemiological data
clearly indicate that there is no significant risk of contracting diseases
through the provision of dental treatment when recommended infection control
procedures are routinely followed.
A key element of infection control recommended by authorities
worldwide is the concept of standard precautions, as a means to reduce
the risk of disease transmission (e.g. the Human Immunodeficiency Virus,
Hepatitis viruses, Tuberculosis and others) in healthcare settings. The
primary precept underpinning this concept is the consideration that all
patients are potentially infectious, hence the necessity for implementation
of comprehensive infection control procedures when treating any patient.
Universal Infection Control Procedures
- The FDI urges all oral health professionals to adhere to standard
precautions as set forth by the local or regional authorities, as appropriate.
Access to dental care
- The FDI believes it is unethical for patients to be denied oral health
care solely because of bloodborne disease status.
- The FDI urges oral health professionals who may be exposed to infectious
risks to be appropriately vaccinated according to guidelines issued
by the local authorities, and to take advantage of other vaccines as
and when they become available.
Referral for Medical Evaluation
- The FDI urges all oral health professionals to be alert for signs
and symptoms related
to bloodborne and other infectious diseases. Individuals with medical
conditions suggestive of infection should be referred to their physicians
Patient Disclosure and Confidentiality
- The FDI urges care providers to have an appropriate protocol, in
accordance with applicable local laws, for the confidential handling
of information on patients with systemic infections.
- The FDI urges care providers to maintain strict confidentiality of
a patient's bloodborne pathogen status and their medical condition.
This should not prevent care providers sharing information pertaining
to the patient's medical condition with other health care workers, as
permitted by local regulations.
- The FDI believes that all patients infected with bloodborne pathogens
should disclose their status as part of their medical history. The care
provider has to be cognisant of the complete medical history in order
to make apposite treatment decisions that are in the best interests
of the patient.
- The FDI recommends that all oral health professionals should be familiar
with current postexposure protocols for the management of occupational
exposures to bloodborne pathogens and institute policies in the work
place to ensure appropriate and efficient management of such incidents.
Public Information and Education
- FDI recommends that local or regional dental associations should
educate the public on both the efficacy of standard precautions and
the absence of a significant risk of contracting bloodborne diseases
through the provision of dental care when recommended infection control
procedures are routinely implemented.
- The FDI recommends that all oral health professionals keep their
knowledge and skills current with regard to infectious diseases that
may particularly pose a threat of transmission in clinical settings.
- The FDI recommends the development and updating of local and national
educational programmes for the dental team that address infection control
recommendations in health care settings (as well as programmes that
address the management of the oral and systemic implications of bloodborne
- The FDI recommends that dental educators comprehensively address
and incorporate current infection control recommendations in health
care settings in curriculum content and clinical activities.
- The FDI opposes any legislation that mandates compulsory testing
of dental health
care workers to determine their bloodborne pathogen status.
Main author: Prof L P Samaranayake
Submitted by: FDI Science Commission