In a dental practice, hands are subjected to a number of threats. It’s a good idea to know what these threats are, so that you can choose the correct hand protection.
The dangers to health
The primary protective use of gloves in the dental workplace is to guard against pathogens. When performing dental treatments, it’s not unusual for hands to be exposed to fluids such as saliva and blood. Both of these can carry dangerous diseases.
The biggest threats are serious viral infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. HIV, though manageable, is not treatable as of yet, and seriously impacts the immune system.[i] Both Hepatitis B and C can cause severe liver damage, which can even be fatal.[ii][iii]
Other diseases that can be transmitted through these means are also concerning. It’s not unusual for people to contract influenza and other common diseases through contact with bodily fluids.
Gloves help to protect against these threats in two different ways. Firstly, wearing gloves prevents these pathogens from coming into contact with the skin. This makes it impossible for them to infiltrate our natural defenses through any small cuts on our hands. Secondly, when worn and properly disposed of, gloves prevent pathogens from moving from surface to surface. This in turn helps contain the potential spread of disease.
Another risk dental professionals need to be aware of are needlestick injuries. These present the same threats as blood spray. However, infection is more likely because pathogens may directly enter the bloodstream through the wound. Needlestick injuries are a common occurrence, and it is thought that thousands of people still experience these injuries every year.[iv] Our range of Sharps Disposal units are supplied to support organisations to adhere to best practice around sharps injury prevention.
Chemical burns, excessive dryness and eczema can all be consequences of using cleaning products without hand protection. In some cases, these injuries can be serious and take a long time to heal.[v]
Gloves protect against these threats as they act as a physical barrier. As long as gloves are not made from any absorbent material, you can completely bypass the threat of adverse effects.
Choosing the right gloves for your practice isn’t always straight forward. Latex allergies are particularly common among healthcare workers. One study suggested that as many as 21.8% of those who wear latex gloves regularly, develop an allergic reaction.[vi]
As such, it’s important to evaluate the needs of all of your staff to ensure that you buy gloves that protect them and which won’t have any detrimental effects on their skin/health.
Initial Medical has a wide range of gloves available to suit every need. Offering a diverse selection of materials and sizes, you can easily find gloves suitable for everyone in your practice.
[i] NHS. HIV and AIDS. Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/ [Last accessed August 19].
[ii] NHS. Hepatitis C. Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hepatitis-c/ [Last accessed August 19].
[iii] NHS. Hepatitis B. Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hepatitis-b/ [Last accessed August 19].
[iv] King, K., Strony, R. Needlestick. [Updated 2019 Jun 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493147/
[v] Cnet. 3 Reasons You Should Always Wear Gloves While Cleaning. Link: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/why-you-should-always-wear-gloves-while-cleaning/ [Last accessed August 19].
[vi] Filon, F., Radman, G. Latex Allergy: A Follow Up of 1040 Healthcare Workers. Occup Environ Med. 2006 Feb; 63(2): 121-125.
For further information please visit www.initial.co.uk/healthcare-waste or Tel: 0870 850 4045