Most patients probably don’t think about hygiene at the dentist and just how important it is. Many would assume that all dental clinics rigorously follow the highest hygiene standards, but that’s not always the case.
Although it’s relatively rare in Australia, there have been cases of dental clinics having poor hygiene standards. The most prominent case was in July 2015 at a Sydney dental clinic and more recently in 2016, another one in Brisbane.
Severe Hygiene Breach at a Sydney Dental Clinic
Thousands of people who visited one of the four clinics were warned they could have potentially been infected with serious diseases.
The Dental Council of NSW had discovered breaches in infection control. Patients who had invasive procedures at the clinics over the past 10 years were informed they could have contracted hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.
The scare was followed by an investigation in which the NSW Dental Council restricted the registration of 12 dentists working at those practices, while six practitioners were suspended and another six had restrictions placed on their registration.
Hygiene is a Right
This incident highlights the importance of choosing a dental clinic where rigorous standards of hygiene, infection control and sterilisation are upheld and not just promised. All dental practitioners have a legal duty of care to their patients.
Hygiene has to be more than a promise, it is common law. It is the responsibility of a dental clinic to comply with the Dental Board of Australia’s guidelines on infection control and ensure infection control measures are properly implemented in the workplace.
The dental board specifies that all dental practices are carried out in a manner that protects and enhances public health and safety. This means ensuring there is a minimal risk of diseases being spread.
How to Make Sure a Dental Clinic is Hygienic
To ensure you’re receiving safe care from a dentist, you should consider or ask about the following:
- Whether the dental practitioner is registered (anyone can check the national register online)
- Does the surgery look clean and tidy?
- Is the dentist wearing appropriate clothing, gloves, eyewear and a mask?
- Are there appropriate hand washing facilities?
- Are the instruments clean?
- Are there packaged instruments and disposable items?
- Does the dentist have an assistant?
If in doubt, ask the dentist about their sterilisation process or whether they have an autoclave. If you’re not satisfied with the answers or feel like something is wrong, then leave the clinic.
High Standards from My Dentist at Cannon Hill
We are committed to providing the highest standards of care while offering a friendly and relaxed environment. Our level of care involves maintaining impeccable hygiene and infection control through exhaustive monitoring and highly trained staff.
If you’d like more information about the high standards of hygiene at our dental clinic, please contact us online or call us on 07 3902 1023. We treat patients in Brisbane, as well as surrounding local areas including Cannon Hill, Morningside, Murarrie, and Carina.