Did you know that infection prevention and control duties are often delegated to dental assistants in the practice?
Considering this fact, it’s extremely important for dental assistants to be on the cutting edge of dental infection prevention and control knowledge and protocol — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why infection prevention and control education is essential for dental assistants.
To Protect Patients
Dental assistants and the entire dental team are dedicated to providing patient care, which first and foremost involves ensuring patients’ safety in the dental office setting. This is why completing infection control continuing education is paramount.
“We are making a commitment to patients that we are doing everything we can to protect them and take care of them,” agrees Tania S., CDA.
“Dental operatories see large volumes of patients daily — so it is critical to use proper disinfecting and sterilization methods to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination,” adds Mayuly X., CDA.
To Ensure the Entire Dental Team’s Safety
Dental team members are among the professionals most at risk of infection given the close contact they have with patients and each other. This is why boosting one’s knowledge base in infection prevention and control is important for not only protecting patients, but also ensuring staff safety.
“Dental infection control education is critical,” says Denise R., CDA, COA, RDA, Ed.D. “Uneducated dental assistants can unknowingly spread infections to their patients, themselves and the other members of the dental office.”
To Serve as an Infection Control Leader
Dental team members who have the verified knowledge of dental infection prevention and control guidelines and protocols are often seen as leaders in the practice who are well-equipped to share their knowledge with their peers and patients.
The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) and the DALE Foundation recently launched the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program™.
The certificate program covers the standard precautions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is a cornerstone of knowledge for the dental professionals who have completed it.
In a recent survey of those who earned the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate, respondents shared how they planned to apply their knowledge to their current role.
“As the Infection Control Coordinator in my practice, earning this OSAP-DALE Foundation certificate validates my recommendations to enhance the practice,” one respondent shared.
“I plan to use this knowledge to incorporate solid infection control guidelines in the clinics where I work,” another respondent said.
Educators have also reported that enhancing their knowledge in this critical area serves them and their students.
“As a dental assistant instructor and mentor, I plan to share my knowledge and the things I’ve learned with students so they can be better prepared for their careers,” shares one educator who earned the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate.
Consultants, as well, have appreciated the benefits of boosting their knowledge. As one consultant shares: “I educate dental offices and dental dealer reps on infection prevention protocols as a major component of my job. Earning the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate helps me gain credibility with my audience.”