A key part of avoiding infection and cross contamination in the dental practice is the quality of your protective personal equipment (PPE).
What is dental PPE and why is it important?
The term PPE is used to describe all protective equipment that a dentist or dental assistant may use in the surgery. It includes the following elements:
PPE for eyes – googles, visors
Normal glasses don’t provide sufficient eye protection as they lack side protection, so goggles or visors are worn during treatments and when manually cleaning instruments.
PPE for Hands – Sterile, single-use Gloves
These are put on at the start of treatment and removed at the end. They are removed aseptically so that the outside of the glove isn’t touched by bare skin. Sterile gloves are used for invasive surgery, while heavy duty gloves are used for cleaning of dental instruments.
PPE for the Face – Masks and Respirators
Conventional single-use masks provide barrier protection against splatter, but do not generally protect the wearer effectively against aerosol inhalation. Respirator masks filter inhaled air and remove microbes.
PPE for the body – Aprons, Gowns
Single use aprons are often worn over the top of dental scrubs to act as a barrier to fluids. Items of dental uniform and footwear themselves are not considered PPE as they do not provide a barrier to body fluids.