Wrapping up Dental Infection Control Awareness Month (#DICAM18), a national Infection Control Consortium (“Consortium”) reiterates its support of patient and provider safety. The Consortium, comprised of several national dental associations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agreed that all dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) should obtain education in infection prevention and control that is based on federal standards, regulations, and evidence-based guidelines and has defined educational components related to infection control in oral healthcare settings, including overarching core competencies, broad learning objectives and a suggested list of essential elements for an infection control curriculum.
The genesis for the Consortium occurred in late 2013, when several national organizations convened in response to a number of serious breaches in infection control protocol. While the level of non-compliance with federal guidelines and regulations reflected by these incidents likely occurs in a very small percentage of oral healthcare settings, these events stimulated interest in a broader discussion around this issue.
To that end, in August 2014, the CDC’s Division of Oral Health and seven national dental organizations agreed to form an Infection Control Consortium:
• Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)
• American Association of Dental Boards (AADB)
• American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA)
• American Dental Association (ADA)
• American Dental Education Association (ADEA)
• Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
• Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP)
The Consortium’s work was guided by this charge, to “provide a framework for infection control education of oral healthcare professionals responsible for performing and/or overseeing infection control procedures in oral healthcare settings.”
In March 2016, CDC introduced a “Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care” (“Summary”), which summarized current infection prevention recommendations and included a checklist that can be used to evaluate compliance.
The Infection Control Consortium ensured that its work was consistent with the CDC Summary and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens standard. The Consortium’s work products can serve as a practical resource for all types of DHCP, as well as educators, consultants and state regulatory agencies.
The Proceedings of the Infection Control Consortium and the recommendations contained are now available to reference in developing education in infection control in oral healthcare settings.
Additional resources that may be available through the individual participating organizations can be obtained by contacting the executive director of any participating organization or visiting these organizations’ websites. Contact the CDC at www.cdc.gov/oralhealth for a number of seminal and sentinel documents in the area of dental infection prevention and control.
The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) is a growing community of clinicians, educators, researchers, and industry representatives who advocate for safe and infection-free delivery of oral healthcare. OSAP’s mission is to be the world’s leading provider of education that supports safe dental visits. www.osap.org
The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) is recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) as the national certification board for dental assistants. DANB’s mission is to promote the public good by providing credentialing services to the dental community. www.danb.org
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is The Voice of Dental Education. Our mission is to lead institutions and individuals in the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research and the delivery of oral health care for the overall health and safety of the public. Our members include all 76 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, more than 1,000 allied and advanced dental education programs, 66 corporations and more than 20,000 individuals. Our activities encompass a wide range of research, advocacy, faculty development, meetings and communications, including the esteemed Journal of Dental Education®, as well as the dental school application services ADEA AADSAS®, ADEA PASS®, ADEA DHCAS® and ADEA CAAPID®. For more information, visit adea.org.
The Americans Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) is the oldest professional organization for dental assistants. ADAA’s mission is advancing the careers of dental assistants and advocating for the dental assisting profession in matters of education, professional activities, credentialing and legislation. www.adaausa.org
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 40,000 general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. Founded in 1952, AGD is the largest association exclusively for general dentists in the world and serves the needs and represents the interests of general dentists. For more information, visit www.agd.org.
The American Dental Association (ADA) is the nation's largest dental association, representing 161,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. For more information about the ADA and its vision to empower dental professionals to achieve optimal health for all, visit ada.org.
The American Association of Dental Boards (AADB) is a national association that encourages the highest standards of dental education, promotes higher and uniform standards of qualifications for dental practitioners, and advocates uniform methods in the conduct, operation, and working of dental examining boards. The mission of AADB is to serve as a resource by providing a national forum for exchange, development, and dissemination of information to assist dental regulatory boards with their obligation to protect the public. Membership is composed of boards of dentistry, specialty boards, present and past board members, board administrators and attorneys, and dental educators. www.dentalboards.org