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Transmission of infection in dentistry

Infection control is one of the most important debatable topics in dentistry that is related to the health of dentists in Canada, assistants and patients. An infection occurs when a microorganism enters the body, replaces it in a suitable place and starts multiplying. Due to its special biological conditions, the oral cavity is a suitable medium for the growth of various types of microorganisms.

The goal of the infection control program in dentistry is to prevent the transmission of infection from one person to another. This work includes preventing the transmission of cross infection from one patient to another patient, from dental professionals to the patient or vice versa.

Infection transmission methods in dentistry

Transmission of infection in dentistry happens in the following ways:

Transmission of infection from the patient to the dental team

The most common way; direct contact with the patient’s blood, saliva and oral secretions. If the dentist’s hand or the appropriate gloves are not used, the entry way for the assistant will have scratches or cuts and microorganisms will be provided.

Splashing of contaminated drops in the mouth, nose or conjunctiva of the eyes is another way of transferring contamination to the dental team. Inhalation of particles suspended in the air due to blood seepage and oral secretions, which are microbial and potentially infectious particles that cannot be seen, are also included in this category.

Indirect contact; Contact with contaminated tools and equipment occurs when the dentist or assistant touches the contaminated surface or comes into contact with contaminated sharps.

Transmission of infection from dental workers to the patient

This transmission happens when the dentist’s or assistant’s hand has a contagious skin lesion, or the dentist’s hand is cut during work and blood spills into the patient’s mouth, or the dentist touches the patient’s scratched mucous membrane.

The transfer of cold from the dentist to the patient is one of the cases that occurs due to sneezing and spreading of suspended particles.

Transmission of infection from patient to patient

This transmission is more likely in the field of medical work when the contaminated equipment of one patient is used for another patient.

Transmission of infection from the dental office to the community

There are different ways for this type of transfer, for example, sending the contaminated mold to the dental laboratory or sending the contaminated handpieces for repair, it is also possible for the dental staff to be infected with clothes or products.

Transmission of infection from the community to the dental office and the patient

  • This transfer occurs when the pollution enters the unit system through the city water and then is transferred to the patient through the dental instruments.
  • When the water and air syringe of the ultrasonic device or angle and turbine are used, there is a possibility of contaminated water reaching the patient.
  • The passage of water inside the delicate pipes of the unit and the lower speed of the water flow near the inner wall of the pipes cause the formation of masses containing microorganisms on the inner surface of the pipe called biofilm.
  • The pollution of the exiting water from the dental unit is much more than the incoming water. This issue is caused by the formation of biofilm. (In order to eliminate biofilms, enzymatic cleaners such as ACTIVE PROZYME deconex can be used).
  • In addition, drinking water contains organic and inorganic substances that act as nutrients for microorganisms in water and biofilm.


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