Personal Protection & Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

It is important that all staff understand and comply with the principles of personal protection as set out in the Dental Council code of practice.

It is mandatory for all staff to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing out infection prevention and control procedures. PPE includes gloves (including heavy duty gloves for manual washing of equipment), surgical face masks, visor/protective glasses/goggles and uniforms/scrubs/gowns.

Hand hygiene must be carried out after removal and disposal of PPEs. Many PPE items are single use (ref manufacturer’s instructions).

It is best practice that uniforms are not worn outside of the dental premises. Where it is not possible to change the uniform when traveling to and from work every effort should be made to fully cover the uniform while traveling.

It is poor practice to carry pens, scissors, and phones in outside pockets.

Tunics should be bare below the elbows to facilitate correct hand washing techniques. Personal items of clothing such as cardigans and waist coats should not form part of the uniform.

Shoes should be appropriate to the workplace with non-slip soles. The uppers should be solid to prevent a sharps injury and to protect against chemical spillage. Open toe footwear and canvas uppers are not advised.

Change immediately if the uniform becomes visibly soiled are contaminated. They may be washed in a domestic washing machine along with other clothes. A temperature of no less than 60 degrees for 10 minutes is usually recommended. Daily change of uniform is recommended.

Finally, it seems unlikely that uniforms are significant source of infection control nevertheless how dental team members dress sends messages to patients they care for. Patience expect staff to have a neat appearance with a sloppy appearance being taken to poor infection control standards in the practice.