Investigation of organizational and hygiene features in dentistry: a pilot study


Introduction. In dentistry, as in surgery, there is a risk of cross- infection for both patients and staff. The aim of this research was to evaluate procedures and behaviors enacted by dental staff which might engender a risk for themselves and their patients. Methods. A questionnaire was administered to 106 dental workers in Genoa (Italy), both public and private. Whenever personal interviews were conducted, the facilities involved were also inspected and the activities of the dental staff were observed directly. Results. This research highlighted some critical points in both structural and organizational features and in the management of infective hazards in the sample considered. In some cases, inadequacies were noted with regard to the prevention of cross- infections, such as the lack of disinfection of work surfaces and the handles of chair-set accessories. Discussion and conclusions. The particular nature of dental work, in which aerosols of blood and saliva may be produced by rotating instruments, engenders a risk of infection. Application of the various preventive measures available can significantly reduce microbial contamination and the risk of occupational infection and cross-infections. Furthermore, improvement in the structural and organizational features of dental surgeries and the continuing education of health-care workers is indispensable to the control and prevention of infectious diseases.