Cross infection can be defined as an infection that spreads from one person to another. Cross infection is a major concern for those who are working in clinics and dental laboratories. This is because of the patient’s saliva and blood, equipment, and even from people who work in the dental laboratories and clinics could be carrying micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses.
There are two main components of transmission, air-borne transmission and blood-borne transmission.
Air-borne transmission affects people’s lungs by transmission of micro-organisms or viruses through the air. For example, if a patient is coughing at one of the clinics, the micro-organisms may go through directly into the dental team’s lungs.
Blood-borne transmission is another form of transmission. It can be caused when patient’s blood from the mouth goes directly into the clinician’s open wound on their body. Several diseases could be transmitted such as Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Luckily, there are several ways to minimise cross infection; Patient screening is used to minimise the risk of infectious disease transmission from patients to dental clinician and technician. We always take a look at the medical or dental history before we see the patients. Also, we always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns and gloves to prevent infection control. Lastly, disinfection procedure is the most important to minimise cross infection. At our clinics, we always disinfect patient’s impressions, dental equipment and dental chair. After taking impressions, we rinse the impression with water and then put in a container with disinfected liquid for 3 minutes. This preventative measure removes all micro-organisms or viruses from the impressions.