Patients’ changing needs and higher expectations have shaped modern dentistry. They want a quality service, a holistic approach to oral care and stable treatment. Practices have adapted and evolved to meet these needs through effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)..
The multiskilled team
Dentists perform procedures that would previously have been unachievable, so it makes sense that dental care professionals (DCPs) now provide more proactive support. Mandatory registration to the General Dental Council (GDC) has also been key to increased responsibility. Before registration, dental nurses could be trained by dentists rather than requiring formal qualifications, for example. And, prior to 1992, when the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations were introduced, dental nurses may have worked without PPE.
When we consider how dentistry has changed, how we now understand infection control is an important part. We now know that infection control is more than just handwashing and a good clean of surfaces and equipment. There are a range of measures that every modern practice should implement to keep the dental team and the people they look after safe.
What should PPE consist of?
PPE includes anything that could prevent and control infection, from aprons to face masks, goggles and gloves. It must be frequently assessed, properly stored and used and removed correctly. Protocols for assessing the risk of contamination will dictate what is required. These protocols should be reviewed regularly and all members of the dental team should be familiar with them.
The bedrock of your PPE will be gloves. They are the most frequently worn item and used whenever there is a risk that bodily fluids could contaminate hands, or when contaminated tools are handled. Gloves should be safe, compliant and authenticated with the appropriate health and safety standards marks. They should also be comfortable for the practitioner to wear and feel comfortable for the patient when their mouth is being touched. With antibiotic resistant infections on the rise, the quality of all PPE, including gloves, has never been more important. Personal preference is important for comfort, so this must be taken into consideration when choosing gloves for the dental team. Initial Medical has gloves for every task and every practitioner. There are various options of materials (latex, non-latex, nitrile and vinyl), colours and sizes. You can choose powdered or powder free, or even fragranced gloves to enhance the patient experience.
Quality PPE is central to modern dentistry. Now that members of the dental team have taken on more responsibility, as part of a holistic, preventive approach to modern care, they must be as adequately protected as the dentist. We support our dental clients with a range of medical supplies to support their PPE requirements.