Hand Washing for the Dental Team

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for healthcare professionals including
dental personnel effective hand hygiene is critical for reducing the risk of
transmitting organisms clean hands protect you and your patients hand
hygiene is a general term that applies to routine hand washing with water and
plain soap and water hand washing with water and an antimicrobial soap cleaning
hands with an antiseptic alcohol-based hand rub and surgical antisepsis using
water and an antimicrobial soap or water and non antimicrobial soap followed by
an alcohol-based surgical hand scrub product with persistent activity in
keeping with infection control procedures in the dental practice avoid
wearing jewelry including watches keep your finger nail tips trimmed to about
1/4 inch they should be neatly filed with no sharp edges so when should hand
hygiene be performed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC
recommends that hand hygiene be performed before and after treating each
patient in other words before putting on gloves and after glove removal as well
as following ungloved hand contact with a patient’s intact skin before leaving
the dental laboratory after touching contaminated objects when hands are
visibly soiled after removing gloves that are torn cut
or punctured during a procedure and before you replace damaged gloves when
handling contaminated instruments for instrument processing always wear
utility gloves never use bare hands what products can be used for routine
non-surgical procedures hand hygiene can be performed with plain soap and water
an antimicrobial soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub that has an
alcohol concentration of 60 to 90 percent if your hands are visibly soiled
they must be washed with soap and water first wet your hands and apply a small
amount of liquid soap onto one palm rub vigorously until lather appears and
continue rubbing for at least 15 seconds scrub between your fingers
under your fingernails and the back of your hands as well as the palms up to
your wrists then rinse your hands under running water dry your hands completely
with a disposable towel if the faucet doesn’t have a foot pedal or automatic
shutoff use the towel as a barrier to turn off the faucet to clean your hands
with an alcohol-based hand rub check the manufacturer’s instructions
for how much of the product you should apply some manufacturers simply state to
wet hands thoroughly with the product dispense the alcohol-based hand rub on
the palm and rub your hands together covering all surfaces and fingers until
your hands are dry if your hands feel dry after rubbing them together for 10
to 15 seconds you most likely have not applied enough product is soap and water
better than an alcohol-based hand rub according to the CDC’s recommendations
for infection control in dental settings either product can be used for routine
hand hygiene provided that there is no visible contamination on the hands
alcohol-based hand rubs that have an alcohol concentration between 60 and 95
percent are more effective at killing germs than those with the lower alcohol
concentration or non alcohol-based hand sanitizers
also while alcohol-based hand rubs can inactivate many types of microbes they
must be used correctly to be effective alcohol-based hand rubs are useful when
hand washing facilities are not available or feasible for example when
you’re working in a mobile clinic doing routine dental screenings in the school
when there is a boil water advisory from your water supplier and when hands are
not visibly soiled alcohol hand rubs are also helpful for reducing skin dryness
and irritation regardless of which hand hygiene product you use hands should be
completely free of moisture before you put on your gloves dry hands help reduce
skin irritation good hand hygiene practices combined with wearing gloves
are essential elements of infection control and effective hand hygiene
protects you and your patients for more information about the ADA professional
product review visit www.ADA.org/PPR

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