Infection control procedures are precautions taken in healthcare settings to prevent the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) working with the ADA, has developed special recommendations for use in dental offices.

Before patient enters the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles and countertops have been cleaned and decontaminated. Some offices may cover this equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient.

Non-disposable items like the dental tools or hand pieces are cleaned and sterilized between patients. You may not be aware that sterilization and other infection control precautions take place before your dental visit because many of these procedures occur in another area of the dental office. Disposable items such as needles or gauze are placed in special bags or containers.

Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective garb such as gloves, and sometimes masks, gowns and eyewear. After each patient, disposable wear like the gloves and masks are discarded.