Proper hygiene and the use of protective gear to prevent diseases are important infection control measures in the practice of dentistry. Dental procedures entail direct contact with saliva and other bodily fluids, which is why safety and health government agencies regulate specific protocols on using gloves and applying sterilization procedures on tools and equipment. If you’re a dental practitioner, it’s important to know how you can maximize safety through proper use, selection and disposal of gloves.
Proper Use and Selection of Gloves
Different health organizations recommend the use of non-sterile examination medical-grade gloves for all dental treatments, except those that entail surgical operations. Before purchasing dental supplies from suppliers, make sure that the gloves are an exact fit. Gloves that are too tight may negatively affect hand muscles, which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders. On the other hand, loose gloves may force you to apply severe pressure that will also lead to injuries in the joints, ligaments, and muscles. Additionally, loose gloves are prone to tears that may result in exposure. Purchase gloves that have a cuff that covers the bottom of a long-sleeved protective gown.
Keep in mind that sterile gloves are for direct dental procedures. For disinfection and cleaning of dental equipment and surfaces like countertops, use puncture-and-chemical resistant heavy-duty utility gloves.
Removal and Disposal of Contaminated Gloves
Dentists must remove the gloves after every dental procedure. Remember to use your gloved hand to grab the other glove, pulling it downward so it will turn inside out; carefully reach for the inside of the other glove and pull it downward as well. Dispose of the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. Make sure to use soaps that are effective in removing microbes hidden in skin layers.
Ensure personal protection and prevention of transmission of diseases by practicing hand hygiene and proper use, selection, and disposal of gloves.