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5 Reasons Infection Control Is So Important In the Dental Office

Published: January 18, 2017 | Updated: March 25, 2020

Infection control is vital to the safe, effective treatment of patients in the dental office. Proper dental instrument sterilization procedures aren’t just good policy; they can help prevent disease, and even death. Check out these five reasons why dental infection control and sterilization is so important in dental offices.

Dental Instrument Sterilization Prevents Bacteria Growth

Bacteria are among the fastest growing organisms in the world. And when they carry disease, the results can be deadly. But proper sterilization techniques in the dental office can stop them in their tracks. Frequently disinfecting dental assistant tools and equipment kills bacteria.

Dental Infection Control Prevents Spread of Disease

Those bacteria can carry a host of diseases. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can be spread through saliva. But there are other diseases that can be far more concerning such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV.

Stop Bacteria and Disease in the Dental Office to Prevent Death

Bacteria often carry disease. Disease can cause illness and death. Healthcare associated infections are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. But they are easily preventable with proper infection control in medical and dental offices.

Protect Dental Staff with Dental Instrument Sterilization

The prevention of patient-to-patient transfer of bacteria and disease is a top priority for dental professionals. But it’s also important to protect the dentist, dental assistants, hygienists, and other staff. Infection control helps keep the entire staff healthy.

Infection Control Maintains the Reputation of Your Dental Practice

One small mistake in infection control could have obvious health consequences. But if word gets out that your practice doesn’t follow proper procedures and puts patients in jeopardy, it could cost you your good reputation!

Steps for Dental Assistants to Control Infections in Dental Office

Follow some standard practices to ensure that your practice, your patients, your staff and you are safe:

  • Get vaccinated: The CDC recommends that healthcare workers get vaccinated for Hepatitis B, the flu, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
  • Perform proper handwashing in the dental office: Make sure that every staff member follows strict handwashing protocol, before and after every patient.
  • Sterilize all instruments: Make certain proper procedures are followed to sterilize dental instruments such as chisels, cleaning scoops, scrapers, tweezers, etc., after each use.
  • Protect dental work surfaces: Perform frequent decontamination of countertops and surfaces with effective disinfectants and germicides.
  • Use protective attire: Gloves, masks, protective eyewear, and clothing are among the proper attire to use while working with patients. Additionally, you need to be sure to change gloves from patient to patient.
  • Take accurate medical histories of patients: How are you going to know with which patients you need to take added precautions if you don’t know what medical issues they may have? Make certain to get complete medical histories and ask about specific diseases such as hepatitis, recurrent illnesses, infections, oral soft tissue lesions and any diseases affecting the lymphatic system.


Wow, there’s a lot to know about infection control in the dental office! But if you wanted to work as a Dental Assistant, you’d learn all about them. If you’d like to train to become a dental assistant, contact Charter College now. We’ll show you how to get started with our dental assistant certification program.