Infection control has become a major issue for almost all health professionals. It has grown considerably also in dental hygiene with the hygienist aiming at reducing the susceptibility to infection on the patients. The principles and concepts of hygiene, infection control and infection prevention have been dealt with since early in the history of dental health care profession by dentists and other personnel on the profession. The dentistry profession has been essential in infection control developments as well as close observers of hygiene during control of infections. It is also important to note that obtaining a completely sterile oral environment is necessary, although the micro-floral and biological realities do not recognize an oral cavity as a sterile environment.
The results of any infection control are greatly influenced by the procedure, hygiene and precautions taken. It is thus important that dentistry professions adhere to the established infection protocol to yield positive sustainable results. Communication, either verbal or non-verbal between the patient and the dentist is also a very vital aspect in realizing a solution for the infections in patients. Health history should be taken thoroughly by the health practitioner to enhance better diagnosis and treatment.
It is observable that the senior student is well versed in the professionalism area under the dental hygiene requirements in therapy. The scrubs are well pressed and the socks and shoes suited the therapy session. The hair is well kept and it did not come out of the scrub and neither does it fall towards the face when the therapist is conducting tests when leaning forward. Additionally no jewelry can be seen, there were no artificial nails or polish and the fingers do not extend beyond the finger length (Walsh, 2011). Closing in the professionalism area, the senior student is very cooperative and related perfectly with peers and instructors just as required and expected.
There are also some vital daily hand wash that the student follows to the letter as per the requirements and expectations. He brought all the items needed during clinic session to the unit while the box of gloves, clipboard, pressure kit and caboodle are placed on the bottom shelf of the metal cart as required (Frosst, 2007). The essential protective gown is tied at the back with ties, eyewear is worn and mask is well placed with the mask edge under the chin. The student goes to the sink area for preparation of initial hand wash during that particular day. He places a paper towel on the countertop and uses another to obtain an orangewood stick that he places on the paper towel. The student then pushes the protective gown sleeves up to the level of the elbow and adjusts the temperature of the water, probably to lukewarm just as required.
The student then lathers the hands up to a level that is slightly above the wrists and cleans under the finger nails with the orangewood stick. He then rinses his hands perfectly just as expected; the fingertips pointed up above the wrist for about 15 seconds. After the rinsing the dental student reapplies the soap and lathers for 15 seconds just as before and follows the same procedure to rinse the hands again. Just as required the student does not touch the dispenser as he removes the paper towel and dries one hand at a time using a patting motion. Since the hands are not supposed to come into contact with water, the student wipes the excess water on the countertops carefully and retrieves the already disinfected utility gloves from the sterilization area.
A few mistakes however, are observed during the infection control. The clinician for instance forgets to put barrier handle cover on two light handles. These brings a possibility of the surfaces to be contaminated either directly with blood, saliva, other body fluids or water containing body fluids, or indirectly through other contaminated objects such as DHCP’S gloved hands. Subsequently the two handles can be the source of contamination to other instruments, gloves or the hands of the patient or the clinician. In order to avoid cross-contamination, protection of surfaces either through surface cleaning and disinfection or barrier protection is very vital (Frosst, 2007). The barrier protection is very useful particularly for surfaces and equipment that are difficult to disinfect and clean due to their topography or chemical incompatibilities. The used barriers should then be removed and discarded between patients to avoid cross contamination. This should be done using gloves, and should be followed hand hygiene and later the placement of clean barriers prior to the treatment of the next patient.
The clinician was somehow clumsy since he drops the mask. In addition, the clinician re-wears the mask which had already touched the floor. The mask and other protective gear are supposed to be worn until all cleaning and disinfection is complete. If a mask falls to the floor, the clinician should discard it immediately and in the appropriate manner. Re-wearing would expose both the clinician and the patient to infections from the contaminated floor. Hygiene is the major aspect that should be given an upper hand in the dental laboratory lest cross-contamination and subsequent severe infections attacks the clinician and the patient. Additionally, the mask is not supposed to be adjusted or touched at any single time with gloved hands (Walsh, 2011). This action acts as a predisposing factor of the spread of infections and thus should be avoided at any cost.
The clinician also neglects some vital procedure since he does not flush the water line for enough 30 seconds. This should be done before another patient care for the purpose of purging all potentially contaminated water and air. Several infections and harmful microorganisms are effectively reduced to lower counts through proper flushing of the water line. All the waterlines should also be purged daily before the commencement of a day’s activities by flushing water for 2-3 minutes. This purging should be done in hand pieces air/water syringes tips and ultrasonic tips that are basically not attached to the waterlines. Since there are two air/water syringe lines and similarly two suction systems that require to be flushed, both suctions should thus be turned on to facilitate the flushing of both suctions using the two air/water syringes.
The dentist personnel basically show very good communication skills. The questionnaire technique and interpersonal communication were very effective. This is very vital in the diagnosis of the patient’s infections and in finding a probable cure or solution to the problem. All clinicians are required to observe good communication skills to make the therapy on the clinic session process a success.
Although the clinician performed a proper intra and extra oral exam, he forgot to examine the thyroid gland. It is very essential that the clinician examine the thyroid gland to identify if they have any infection that requires treatment as well. The examination of this gland is done by placing fingers and thumb on either side of the cartilage area. The patient is then let to swallow and bimanually palpate the gland.
In order make sure the procedures are feasible, ethical, useful and accurate, effective program evaluation should be very systematic. Effectiveness of infection prevention and control programs as well as the dental hygiene protocols are improved through close evaluation. Laboratory and dental practice personnel should also ensure they maintain proper communication among themselves to facilitate proper cleaning and disinfection procedures are carried out both in the laboratory and in the office. This would be a very effective way of ensuring patients are properly taken care of and possible cross contamination is eliminated.