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Cross infection and sterilization methods: A survey among dental practitioners in Chennai

Saraswathi Gopal, Jesija J.S, B. G. Harsha Vardhan


Transmission of any infectious diseases is possible from one individual to another during dental procedures including blood-borne infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Therefore in dental clinics, the significance of sterilization and personal protection procedures is of utmost important. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the knowledge, attitude and practice of sterilization and infection control procedures among dental practitioners in Chennai. In this descriptive study, 100 dental practitioners working in private clinics in Chennai were randomly selected to evaluate the knowledge, attitude and practice of sterilization and infection control procedures using a self-administered questionnaire. 88 Dentists considered their patients as suspected of infection. 94% of the respondents are aware that sterilizing instruments at boiling temperature could not kill all type of microorganisms. 82% has answered that the time required for complete sterilization in an autoclave is 20 minutes. To sterile the instruments in the clinic, 37 dentist use autoclave. Out of 100, only 44 responded that the critical instruments (which penetrate the mucous membrane and skin) should not be sterilized by disinfectants. 66 practitioners are aware that the blood borne infections are HIV, HBV, and HCV. 86 participants are aware that the sharps should be discarded in a separate container. The attitude towards the cross infection is satisfactory nevertheless no adequate knowledge on blood-borne infections among the practitioners. Even though most of the practitioners follow proper sterilization methods, improvement in the practice of handling disinfectant solutions and methods of sterilization of hand pieces are required. We would conclude that the regular continuing education programme and short term courses about cross-infection and infection control procedures are essential.


Contamination; dental practitioners; infection control; sterilization methods

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