Infection control remains to be a major concern in dental practice. In Philippine dentistry, however, there are many instances wherein infection control protocol in the dental clinic leaves much to be desired. Varied reasons may be offered as to why dentists ignore infection control practices. Others would say that infection control practices are expensive and that adhering to them would raise the cost of dental treatment. Some would say that it is time-consuming and tedious. Still, others do not have adequate infection control measures simply because they lack information regarding the matter.
Whatever the reason may be, the fact remains that it is our professional responsibility to prevent transmission of infection. We must keep in mind that infection may be from the patient to the dentist and eventually to others with whom the dentist comes in contact with. Infection may be spread to our family and the community. The infection may also be transmitted from patient to patient by way of the dentist or instruments. As dentists, we follow the tenet “DO NO HARM” as patients place their trust in us when they come for dental treatment.
Safeguarding the health and safety of dental health care practitioners and dentists alike is the driving force behind these local guidelines. From dental students to dental assistants to dentists themselves, the Guidelines on Infection Control for Dental Health Care Providers is meant to steer our countrymen away from the old-school practices of yore to the updated, antiseptic systems observed in other countries.
The guidelines are based on the United States’ Guideline for Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings 2003, adapted to the Philippine setting. It tackles important topics such as immunization, personal protective equipment, sterilization and disinfection, and preprocedural mouth rinses. It is my hope that this publication enlightens dentists around the country that the health of their patients and themselves, indeed, lies in their own hands.
DR ROLANDO JAIME R ALDECOA