Education and Training

DHCP should receive infection prevention training:

  • When they are hired
  • When new tasks or procedures affect their occupational exposure
  • Annually
  • According to state or federal requirements

Education and training should be appropriate to the assigned duties of specific dental health care personnel (DHCP). For DHCP who perform tasks or procedures likely to result in occupational exposure to infectious agents, training should include:

  • A description of their exposure risks
  • Review of prevention strategies and infection prevention policies and procedures
  • Discussion of how to manage work-related illness and injuries, including postexposure prophylaxis
  • Review of work restrictions for the exposure or infection

Education on the basic principles and practices for preventing the spread of infections should be provided to all dental health care personnel (DHCP). DHCP include dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians (in-office and commercial), students and trainees, contractual personnel, and other persons not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious agents (e.g., administrative, clerical, housekeeping, maintenance, or volunteer personnel). Training should include both DHCP safety (e.g., Occupational Safety and Health Administration bloodborne pathogen training pdf icon[PDF-366K]external icon) and patient safety, emphasizing job- or task-specific needs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that each dental practice identify an infection prevention coordinator knowledgeable or willing to be trained and responsible for coordinating the practice’s infection prevention program. The coordinator may be a dentist or other dental health care personnel, such as a dental assistant, dental hygienist, or dental laboratory technician.

The infection prevention coordinator should be able to function as a consultant, educator, and role model for other dental health care personnel (DHCP). The coordinator will be responsible for developing and maintaining a written infection prevention program; monitoring/evaluating the program; and implementing quality improvement measures as needed. Although the infection prevention coordinator remains responsible for overall management of the program, creating and maintaining a safe work environment ultimately requires the commitment and accountability of all DHCP.

Training records should be maintained according to state and federal requirements.


CDC. Basic Expectations for Safe Care Training Modules. Available at: Accessed May 8, 2018.

CDC. Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings – 2003. MMWR 2003; 52(No. RR-17):1–66. Available at: pdf icon[PDF-1.2M].  Accessed March 17, 2018.

CDC. Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care. Available at: pdf icon[PDF – 826 KB]

Siegel JD, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, 2007 Guideline for isolation precautions: preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings. Available at: pdf icon[PDF-1.9M].  Accessed March 17, 2016.

US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 29 CFR Part 1910.1030. Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens; needlestick and other sharps injuries; final rule. Federal Register 2001;66:5317–5325. Updated from and including 29 CFR Part 1910.1030. Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens; final rule. Federal Register 1991;56:64003–64182. Available at: icon.  Accessed March 17, 2016.

US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Enforcement procedures for the occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2001; Directive Number. CPL 02–02–069. Available at: icon.  Accessed March 17, 2016.