September not only marks the beginning of cooler weather and fall fashion but also Dental Infection Control Awareness Month.
Each year the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention dedicates this month to providing the dental community with information and materials to stay current with the latest dental infection control guidelines and to ensure every dental visit is safe. This year OSAP is focusing on hand hygiene, dental unit waterlines, PPE and instrument reprocessing.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what can happen when underestimating the power of microorganisms or protein entities to facilitate the spread of a virus or disease. Patients and the dental team should both feel protected from risks of disease transmission. This comes from adequate knowledge about current infection control and safety practices.
There are different entities and corporations organized to maintain order and keep infections under control such as OSHA, the CDC and others. Manufacturers and manufacturing industries also develop products and new technologies to control the diseases or risks to which we are exposed as providers of medical services. Scientific research, vaccine development and the practice of aseptic techniques are all necessary to understand how emerging or re-emerging infections develop, spread and can be controlled.
Community education is vital to prevent the spread of pathogens and achieve proper management of compounds that can aggravate our health. This education can come from health clinics, vaccinations, educational talks, counseling, supplies or social media promotions. OSAP’s annual campaign provides helpful and engaging education materials.
Dentists are members of the indispensable group that promotes the well-being of all. Through consistent prevention measures and the implementation of protocols, we can better achieve infection control and avoid putting our health and quality of life at risk. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure”.
~ Kiara Fernandez, Puerto Rico ’25