Royal College of
Dental Surgeons of Ontario
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Frequently Asked Questions - Infection Prevention and Control


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    What type of education and training is required for oral health care workers (OHCW)? Which illnesses should OHCWs be immunized against? Is immunization against HBV required for all OHCWs? How do we know that the vaccination process was successful and that OHCWs are protected against HBV infection? What happens if an OHCW fails to develop an adequate antibody response? Should a needle be capped or remain uncapped after use? How do we manage a significant exposure to blood (e.g. needle-stick injury)? What should we do if the patient’s HBV, HCV or HIV status is unknown, or if the patient presents with known risk factors? Is there a specific timeframe to administer post-exposure prophylaxis? Do instruments need to be packaged for sterilization? How do we evaluate the sterilizing conditions and the effectiveness of sterilization procedures? How often should biological indicators be used? What are the other indicators that are required and how frequently should they be used? Do dentists need to sterilize handpieces between patients? For hand hygiene, which is better: soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs?