Royal College of
Dental Surgeons of Ontario
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Frequently Asked Questions - Infection Prevention and Control

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    IPAC and the operatory

    How do we transport contaminated dental instruments from the operatory to the reprocessing area? Do I need to test the waterlines? Should I clean operatory surfaces or use barriers (or both), and how often? When should hand hygiene be performed? How should hand hygiene be performed? Can Oral Health Care Workers (OHCW) wear jewelry and/or nail polish? How should injectables be handled? How do we manage a significant exposure to blood (e.g. needle-stick injury)?


    Is there a specific way to organize a reprocessing area? What types of finishes should be used for surfaces and furniture in the dental office? What type of sterilizer should be used? Does my sterilizer require a Type 2 chemical indicator/air removal test (e.g., Bowie-Dick test)? Do we need to sterilize the slow-speed motor? If so, how often? What is a Process Challenge Device (PCD)? Must my sterilizer/autoclave have a recording device? How does the presence or absence of a recording device on my sterilizer/autoclave affect sterilization monitoring requirements? How often must I run a BI test? What if I am using a 1-hour or 24-minute BI test? Does this change the requirement? Which cycle/load(s) does the BI test clear for use? How do I go about testing a new, recently repaired or loaner sterilizer/autoclave, before putting it into service in my practice? How often and when should I record physical cycle parameters? Must I use a Type 5 or 6 chemical indicator (CI)? If so, how often?


    Must I record sterilization information in the patient's chart? What log book should I use for monitoring sterilization? Can the College provide samples/examples of sterilization monitoring records? How long do I need to maintain my IPAC records? Should my sterilization monitoring log book be maintained in a paper or digital format? For sterilizers/autoclaves with a recording device, must I retain the printouts or digital data (“raw data”) of the physical parameters? Does the sale of my practice include sterilization monitoring records? What information must be included on the sterilization pouch/bag containing instruments? Are the requirements the same for wrapped instrument cassettes? Where and when should this information be noted? For sterilization monitoring records, what information must I routinely record and how often?

    Staff education & training, delegation, roles & responsibilities, protocols, audits

    Where can I access continuing education on IPAC? Should I audit the IPAC practices in my office? If so, how often? What tools are available for me to use? I am an associate dentist in a dental office. Am I responsible for IPAC? What type of training are dental assistants required to have in order to perform sterilization duties in the office? Can a chairside dental assistant without a certificate from a dental assisting program perform sterilization duties?

    Waste disposal, including sharps, and eyewash stations

    How do I dispose of clinical glass (e.g. broken local aesthetic carpules, ampoules and vials)? What type of container can I use for collecting sharps? When and where should used sharps be removed and collected? Do I require an eyewash station? What are the requirements?

    Public Health Ontario

    What are the Public Health IPAC requirements that my office must follow? Can Public Health attend my office? We have identified an IPAC lapse (e.g., sterilizer malfunction or staff sterilization error) at our office. What are our next step and reporting requirements?