Infection prevention and control in dentistry

Infection prevention and control in dentistry is a critical issue for safe patient care. While the risk of infection as a result of dental procedures is extremely low, it represents an important patient safety consideration.

See our "Statement on Infection Prevention and Control" here.

The College has developed Guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control in the Dental Office.

What patients should know about IPAC in the dental office:

  • Your dentist or oral health care worker should ensure hands are washed with plain or antimicrobial soap and running water or, if hands are NOT visibly soiled (i.e. in the majority of instances), the use of a 70-90% alcohol-based hand rub is the preferred method of hand hygiene.
  • Your dentist or oral health care worker should wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, protective eyewear, masks and protective clothing. They should be used consistently during the treatment of patients.

Patients can find out more information and read through important FAQs in the College’s Information on Infection Prevention and Control for Patients document.

What dentists should know:

  • Dentists have an obligation to maintain the standards of practice of the profession and must ensure that recommended infection prevention and control procedures are carried out in their offices.
  • In addition to previous formal instruction in a university or college dental program, it is important that all oral health care workers receive office-specific training in infection prevention and control as part of their orientation, and whenever new tasks, procedures or equipment are introduced.
  • It is the dentist’s responsibility to ensure that staff are adequately trained in IPAC procedures, and that the necessary supplies and equipment are available, fully operational, up-to-date and routinely monitored for efficacy.
  • Dentists also have an ethical duty to maintain a safe and healthy office environment for both patients and staff, and to adhere to all rules and regulations related to the operation of a dental practice, including workplace health and safety and environmental protection.

Dentists can find out more information and read through important FAQs in the College’s Information on Infection Prevention and Control for Dentists document. You may also wish to see the many useful resources available from Public Health Ontario.