Risk Assessment, Conclusions, and Source Documents

Risk Assessment

Facilities are encouraged to use the Infection Prevention Checklist for Dental Settings (Appendix A)—a companion to the summary guide—to periodically assess practices in their facility and ensure they are meeting the minimum expectations for safe care. In the course of auditing practices, facilities may identify lapses in infection control. If such lapses are identified, efforts should be made to correct the practices, appropriately educate DHCP (if applicable), and determine why the correct practice was not being performed. In addition, consideration should also be made for determining the risk posed to patients by the deficient practices. Certain infection control lapses (e.g., reuse of syringes on more than one patient or to access a medication container that is used for subsequent patients, reuse of lancets) have resulted in bloodborne pathogen transmission and should be halted immediately. Identification of such lapses warrants immediate consultation with the state or local health department and appropriate notification and testing of potentially affected patients. Additional resources describing approaches to evaluation and management of infection control breaches identified in health care settings — including those involving lapses related to reprocessing of medical devices—can be found in CDC’s Steps for Evaluating an Infection Control Breach. In addition, for circumstances warranting patient notification, CDC has developed a Patient Notification Toolkit to assist health care facilities with conducting a patient notification.


The information presented in this document represents basic infection prevention expectations for safe care in dental health care settings. This guidance is not all-encompassing. DHCP and others are encouraged to refer to the original source documents, which provide more detailed guidance and references for the information included in this guide. DHCP are also encouraged to visit the main CDC Web page (www.cdc.gov) for the most current infection prevention information about emerging pathogens and updated information about existing recommendations.

Source Documents

Dental Infection Prevention Guidelines
Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings—2003
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5217.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1.2 MB]

General Infection Prevention Guidelines
2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings
www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/isolation-guidelines.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1 MB]

Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008
www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/disinfection-guidelines.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1.26 MB]

Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings, 2002
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5116.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 494.5 KB]

Guideline for Infection Control in Healthcare Personnel, 1998
www.cdc.gov/hicpac/pdf/InfectControl98.pdf [PDF – 1.04 MB]

Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities, 2003
www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/environmental-guidelines.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 2.31 MB]

Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in Health-Care Settings, 2005
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5417.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 4.2 MB]

Immunization of Health-Care Personnel: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization, 2011
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6007.pdf Cdc-pdf[PDF – 705 KB]

Management of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Healthcare Settings, 2006
www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/pdf/guidelines/mdro-guidelines.pdf Cdc-pdf[554 – KB]

Key Links for Additional Information
CDC Division of Oral Health

CDC / Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) Guidelines for Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections

CDC Web site on Hand Hygiene

CDC Web site on Influenza

CDC Web site on Injection Safety