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Precautions Taken in Dental Offices to Protect Patients

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• What happened in Oklahoma and elsewhere in the United States is shocking. This situation is inconceivable for any healthcare professional. Fortunately, these are extremely rare occurrences.

• Dentists in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada apply very strict infection prevention and control standards.

• Some examples of the precautions in place in dental offices to protect patients:

– All instruments are sterilized and kept in sterile pouches or wrap until they are needed for the patient.

– Chemical indicators on or in packs of instruments and regular monitoring of the sterilization process using biological indicators guarantee the effectiveness of instrument sterilization devices and procedures.

– Dental anesthetics are administered using sterile single-use needles and cartridges that are discarded after each patient.

– If IV medications are used, they are drawn from single-dose vials with a singleuse needle and syringe. Any additional medications, even for the same patient, are injected with a new syringe and needle.

– A surgical mask and gloves must be worn for all procedures, particularly if they are invasive.

• The Ordre des dentistes has adopted standards and guidelines on infection prevention and control, and has enforcement mechanisms in place to ensure patient protection.

• All dental offices must apply detailed procedures and protocols designed to protect the public. These procedures and protocols are prepared using evidence-based research findings from Health Canada and other such world-renowned organizations as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

• Any patient with concerns or questions in this regard should speak with his or her dentist.

April 2013

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