Infection Lurks at Every Tooth 

fake teeth on a blue background

Oral care goes beyond maintaining teeth.  The mouth tells a story about a person’s overall health, including revealing infection. Infection prevention and control practices in the dental setting are important for protecting those receiving and providing care. When working in the oral cavity, the body’s defense mechanisms are bypassed. Ensuring processes provide the highest level of infection prevention becomes the only way to properly provide safe care. Project Firstline (PFL) is an excellent training resource to make sure infection control practices are in place.    

Jess Danko, MHSA, RRT, LTC-CIP, program manager for PFL for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) shared,

Jess Danko

“We have had multiple opportunities to work with dental professionals as well as future dental professionals. The dental office deals with instruments, exam rooms, water sources and care procedures that require high levels of monitoring in infection control practices.” 

Recognizing dental offices need high levels of infection prevention is the first step of PFL training! Education for dental students and those in the dental setting has been provided by the SD PFL team through virtual and in-person training. Providing virtual training after clinic hours allows clinicians to gain education without affecting their work schedule. In-person training for dental students provides opportunities to ask questions relevant to their future work setting.    

The material covered is the PFL virtual and in-person training is comprehensive. The education topics include hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), needle sticks, cleaning, disinfection, and more. This proactive approach of teaching dental students about infection prevention practices, prior to working directly in the setting, reinforces quality oral health care and care safety.  

Register to attend the “Germs Live on Devices” Office Hours call at 11:00 a.m. on June 14, 2023.

How valuable is PFL training according to participants? Post training surveys showed participants found the infection control training for the dental setting very useful! They learned skills and reviewed information they will utilize in their work setting. Discussions on antibiotic stewardship and how it correlates to the dental setting is an emerging topic.  

“Ensuring that antibiotics are used appropriately and discovering how the dental setting can assist in cutting down the use of unnecessary antibiotics has been highly discussed. Some professionals that have attended training sessions want to play an active part in assisting with reducing antibiotic overuse,” says Danko.

Learn more about infection prevention training and resources on the South Dakota Project Firstline website or watch a recent monthly office hour!