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CDC Guidelines on Injection Safety in Dental Settings

As part of its resources for infection control in dental settings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a new summary (and checklist) for facilities to reference when assessing their current protocols. These documents, which expand upon the CDC’s original 2003 guidelines, include safe injection practices.

In the summary (linked above and starting on page 12), the CDC introduces safe injection practices by reminding dental health care providers (DHCPs) about situations that have led to patient harm, including

  • “use of a single syringe – with or without the same needle – to administer medication to multiple patients,”
  • “reinsertion of a used syringe — with or without the same needle — into a medication vial or solution container (e.g., saline bag) to obtain additional medication for a single patient and then using that vial or solution container for subsequent patients” and
  • “preparation of medications in close proximity to contaminated supplies or equipment.”

While these circumstances may seem improbable in dental settings today, they do happen, unfortunately, and it is important to review workflows and procedures regularly to prevent office and facility standards from getting lax. The CDC summary contains a set of nine key recommendations for dental settings (page 13). MLMIC encourages dental health providers to consult the list of “do’s” and “do nots” for a refresher in safe injection practices.

In addition, the CDC provides measures dental practices and facilities can employ at the administrative level (page 6 of the summary), beginning with designation of an infection prevention coordinator to “be responsible for developing written infection prevention policies and procedures based on evidence-based guidelines, regulations or standards.”

As you review and update your protocols – and reassess them on a regular basis – you may have questions. Feel free to reach out to MLMIC’s risk management staff with any questions you have about the CDC guidelines.<

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