September is Dental Infection Control Awareness Month, as designated by the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). Ensuring infection control compliance to keep patients and providers safe and healthy is one of dental assistants’ top tasks.
“In addition to our many duties, including assisting the doctor and sometimes helping at the front desk, many dental assistants also do sterilization,” says Sonda H., CDA.
In fact, according to the DALE Foundation’s Value of Dental Assistants to the Dental Practice research, 99% of dentists and dental assistants said that sterilization and disinfection duties are delegated to dental assistants in the practice.
“[Dental assistants must understand] the importance of instrument, equipment and office disinfection, sterilization and maintenance,” says Dr. Susan N., a dentist.
Dental assistants are often responsible for critical infection control duties and may even serve as the dental practice’s infection control coordinator.
“Infection control is one of the most important things we do in the office, because we have to make sure everybody stays safe and healthy,” adds Tija H., CDA, EFDA.
Infection control resources for dental assistants
Whether dental assistants are new to the profession or have many years of experience, it is important for them to know proper infection control protocols. Dental assistants who are looking to demonstrate their knowledge in infection control may wish to challenge DANB’s Infection Control (ICE) exam. DANB’s ICE exam can be taken on its own or as part of DANB’s National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA), Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) or Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) certifications.
Additionally, DANB, the DALE Foundation, and OSAP are working together on a dental infection control education and certification initiative. Learn more about the educational program and upcoming professional certifications.
The DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, offers a variety of online resources for boosting dental assistants’ infection control knowledge. In fact, during September, all of these resources are available for 25% off!