The Hygiene Perspective: Breaking the Chain of Infection
THE HYGIENE PERSPECTIVE
BREAKING THE CHAIN OF INFECTION
Masks and gloves play a critical role in effective infection prevention—protecting patients, dental professionals, and the community at large
Dental professionals are required to wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, eyewear, and scrubs to prevent the spread of infectious agents in the operatory. More specifically, they must don single-use medical or sterile surgical gloves for every patient they see, as well as protective eyewear, face masks, and clinical attire. These all act as a barrier, protecting against contact with pathogens and potential disease transmission. With that in mind, the editors of DPS are happy to highlight a handful of the top products to help keep your team and your patients safe.
Gloves are available in a range of materials. With some contact allergies possible in individuals sensitive to latex or synthetic rubber gloves, alternatives include nitrile, vinyl, and neoprene gloves. Nitrile gloves have been found to have a lower risk of perforation compared to vinyl gloves, as well as a lower risk of blood transmission compared to latex following puncturing with sharps.
Factors to consider when choosing gloves include compliance, glove integrity, suitability for all staff, comfort, and chemical exposure compatibility and resistance to chemical degradation. Importantly, gloves should be purchased from a reliable manufacturer, because the quality and reliability of gloves vary.
The following gloves have all been evaluated for DPS and given high marks from teams of hygienists and dentists.
Cranberry’s AquaPrene gloves are made from a synthetic material with a molecular structure closely mirroring natural rubber latex, providing the comfort and feel of latex and the barrier and strength of nitrile. They are fingertip textured for enhanced dryand wet-grip performance.
Also from Cranberry, Aqua Source powder-free nitrile exam gloves are coated with lanolin and vitamin E to minimize dry-skin irritation associated with constant glove changing. The gloves have full-hand texturing and ultrathin feel for superior tactile sensitivity and grip.
Glove Club, Elastex 2 Nytrile powder-free exam gloves are ultrasoft nitrile gloves that assist in reducing hand fatigue while providing exceptional protection and durability. The unique formulation provides increased comfort for the wearer compared to conventional nitrile gloves on the market.
Henry Schein offers Criterion COATS nitrile exam gloves, made with enriched colloidal oatmeal USP—recognized by the FDA as a soothing, moisturizing skin protectant. Criterion COATS Nitrile Exam Gloves can provide continuous transfer and delivery of unique skin protection during typical glove use. The Criterion CR powder-free chloroprene exam gloves from Henry Schein offer the feel and elasticity of a latex glove without the worry of an allergic reaction to latex or nitrile. Criterion CR gloves have a more natural feel and fit to the hand, and a higher tensile strength.
EcoBee’s BeeSure SuperSlim powder-free nitrile exam gloves are a latex-free alternative for dental professionals looking for ultimate strength and fl exibility while not compromising a high level of protection. The innovative, soft, and stretchy formulation delivers superior tactile sensitivity and donning ease.
Face masks are required to protect the user from inhalation of airborne and aerosolized microorganisms, as well as from droplets and spatter. A new mask must be used for each patient, and they should be well-fitting against the face, covering the nose and mouth.
What should you look for in a mask? It should be comfortable while offering good breathability and a suitable level of filtration—the higher the filtration rating for a mask, the greater the level of protection it offers. Masks should provide adequate fluid and flame resistance. For sensitive skin, masks are available that are dye-free and hypoallergenic.
From Cranberry, the Carbon Black Face Masks offer ASTM Level 3 protection with high fluid resistance and greater than 99% BFE/PFE at 0.1 micron. The quad-fold design provides greater comfort with 15% more breathing volume. Nose and chin adjustment strips ensure custom fit and protection. Henry Schein’s Maxi-Gard Air Earloop Procedure Masks feature an innovative, contoured design that enhances air-flow space and provides complete coverage and fit with extra breathing room that allows for a more comfortable, extended wear. These fluid-resistant masks feature an adjustable, full-width nosepiece, are fiberglass-free, and are not made with natural rubber latex.
The Com-Fit Plush hypoallergenic face masks from Dentsply Sirona provide the highest levels of infection control and comfort. An innovative inner material feels silky soft on the skin, and gentle earloops and a curved nosepiece produce a pleasant fit. They are available in ASTM levels 1 to 3.
The SecureFit face masks from Crosstex feature aluminum adjustable nose and chin closures that allow for a secure custom-fit seal regardless of face shape or size. SecureFit Technology helps reduce the potential of inhaling airborne contaminants by reducing gapping around the borders of the face mask. The masks are available in all 3 ASTM levels.
Medicom’s SafeMask TailorMade earloop masks feature a dual-fit system (nosepiece and chinpiece) that forms a tight seal around the face, eliminating the gapping of single nosepiece-designed masks. The masks meet ASTM 2100 performance standards for everyday Level 1 and Level 3 barrier protection. The material is soft and nonwoven, and the earloop ties are soft, stretchy, and latex-free. Inspired by nature, BeeSure Naturals Face Masks from EcoBee are made from 60% earth-friendly cellulose components. Their exclusive quad-fold design offers 15% more breathing volume, providing cool and easy breathability. Naturals Face Masks provide ASTM Level 2 protection and are latex-free and fiberglass-free. Mydent’s Form-Fit Masks have a unique contour design without a metal nosepiece, which prevents fogging of eyewear. The Form-Fit Masks are ergonomically designed, fluid resistant, and have a BFE of greater than 99%. They are both latex- and fiberglass-free.
The success and safety of infection prevention depends on following a standardized and reliable protocol and using the personal protection products that enable you to meet CDC guidelines and OSHA requirements. Safe care and effective infection prevention protects patients, dental healthcare workers, and the community at large.
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