About the CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Care Settings—2003
Guidelines may be defined as “documents that contain recommendations about health interventions, whether they be clinical, public health, or policy recommendations. Recommendations provide information about what policy makers, health care providers, or patients should do. Recommendations imply choices between different interventions that have an impact on health and that have ramifications for the use of resources.”
CDC develops guidelines and recommendations to improve the effectiveness and impact of public health interventions and inform key audiences, such as clinicians, public health practitioners, and the public.
CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Care Settings—2003 were developed by CDC in collaboration with other authorities on infection control to provide dental health care personnel overall guidance on infection prevention practices. These guidelines describe the minimum standard of practice recommended for safe care in all dental settings. Some infection prevention and control practices, however, are mandated by federal, state, or local regulations.
CDC is not a regulatory agency and does not publish regulations or other legally enforceable standards. The role of CDC is to provide guidelines and recommendations related to infection prevention in dental health care settings.
Dentists are licensed by their state regulatory body to practice dentistry and should practice according to regulations and policies identified in their state dental practice acts. Some states may incorporate adherence to CDC guidelines into their standard of practice. CDC recommends that dental health care personnel review the dental practice act of their state for information on rules and regulations that govern the practice of dentistry in their state.
CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Care Settings—2003 are non-regulatory and provide overall guidance on infection prevention practices for dental health care personnel. These guidelines represent the minimum standard of practice recommended for safe care in all dental settings and are designed to prevent transmission of infectious agents among patients and dental health care personnel in dental settings.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that develops and enforces regulations that ensure employers provide safe and healthful conditions for workers. OSHA issues workplace health and safety standards that are intended to reduce injuries among employees. For instance, one of the main standards applicable to dental health care personnel is OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, which describes what employers must do to protect workers who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).
Although the CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Care Settings incorporate many practices outlined in OSHA standards to protect dental health care personnel, it also includes other recommendations, such as safe injection practices, that are designed to protect the patient from infections.
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Occupational Safety and Health Administration. All About OSHA. OSHA-3302-11R. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor; 2016. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/all_about_OSHA.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 711KB]external icon. Published 2016. Accessed June 19, 2018.
US Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 29 CFR Part 1910.1030. Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens; needlesticks and other sharps injuries; final rule. Federal Register. 2001;66:5317–5325. As amended from and includes 29 CFR Part 1910.1030. Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens; final rule. Federal Register. 1991;56:64174–64182. https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10051external icon. Accessed June 21, 2018.
World Health Organization. WHO Handbook for Guideline Development. Second Edition. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO. 2014. https://www.who.int/publications/guidelines/handbook_2nd_ed.pdf?ua=1 pdf icon[PDF – 2.03 MB]external icon. Accessed June 19, 2018.