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Infection Control in Dental Settings

Although the principles of infection control remain unchanged, new technologies, materials, equipment, and data require continuous evaluation of current infection control practices. The unique nature of many dental procedures, instruments, and patient care settings also may require specific strategies directed to preventing pathogen transmission among dental health care personnel and their patients.

CDC published the Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings — 2003 for dental health care personnel. CDC's evidence-based recommendations guide infection control practices in dental offices nationally and globally; provide direction for the public, dental health care personnel and policymakers; and affect technology development in the dental industry.

Recommended infection control practices are applicable to all settings in which dental treatment is provided.


CDC Health Advisory:  Immediate Need for Healthcare Facilities to Review Procedures for Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing Reusable Medical Devices


September is National Dental Infection Control Awareness Month. Learn more here. 

Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions for Infection Control in Dental Settings

Fact Sheets

Frequently Asked Questions


 Hepatitis B Frequently Asked Questions
These FAQs cover hepatitis B infections, vaccinations, chronic hepatitis B, serology, traveler’s health, and more.

Other Recommendations

Tuberculosis Infection Control Recommendations
The changing epidemiology of tuberculosis (TB) and discovery of new diagnostic methods prompted a revision of CDC's guidelines to prevent TB transmission in healthcare settings. View CDC's TB infection control recommendations for dental settings and learn how they should be incorporated into an infection control program.

Additional Resources

Prevention of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Transmission in Dental Health Care Settings
In health care settings, MRSA most often is spread indirectly from patient to patient on the transiently contaminated hands of health care professionals. Standard Precautions has been shown to be an effective strategy in preventing transmission. Learn more at CDC’s About MRSA Skin Infections.

If Saliva Were Red: A Visual Lesson on Infection Control
The video training system, If Saliva Were Red, features an 8-minute video (VHS, CD-ROM) that uses dental professionals to highlight common infection control and safety flaws; the cross contamination dental personnel would see if saliva were red; and how controlling contamination by using personal barrier protection, safe work practices, and effective infection control products reduces the risk of exposure. Produced by the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (see link below).