Understanding Oral Infection Control

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Did you know that our mouths play host to some of the most diverse and plentiful bacteria in the human body? Ita��s a jungle in there.

The oral cavity is home to so many organisms and microorganisms, wea��ve only been able to identify and understand the 22 most predominant types. Some estimates suggest that there are 100 million bacteria in every millimetre of saliva a�� originating from 600 distinct species. Ita��s a delicate eco-system where microbes, fungi, viruses, and protozoa co-exist and interact in perfect balance.

But not all bacteria are friendly. When aggressive, foreign invaders gain access to the mouth, they can wreak havoc and cause serious disease.

This is where the intra-oral dental assistant comes into the picture, keeping the workspace free from contamination and protecting patients from dangerous infection.

Targeting the Invisible Invader

Ita��s often the dirt you cana��t see that proves the most dangerous. Dental assistant training emphasizes the importance of sterilizing instruments and keeping both the office space and operating rooms as clean as possible. But some surfaces are commonly overlooked, and a quick wipe is never enough to eradicate persistent bacteria. Youa��re out to erase more than fingerprints, smudges and dust. Your target is the invisible invader that lurks on light switches, door knobs and computer keyboards; the high-traffic surfaces that are touched often, and may even appear quite clean a�� but are a breeding ground for harmful bacterial strains.

Students also learn to zero-in on other places microorganisms tend to take up residence and flourish. Common hot spots for bacterial growth are suction instruments where water is present. In order to control infection, these must be continually and carefully sterilized. Cross contamination, particularly from non-obvious sources, poses a real threat to the moutha��s delicate eco-system and leaves the door open for infection.

Breaking the Chain of Infection

Once infection control protocols have been compromised, patients become vulnerable to oral diseases like Hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS. CADHa��s comprehensive dental assistant program helps students understand the fundamentals of microbiology, including how disease is transmitted from person to person, or from contaminated objects to dental workers and patients. They learn the difference between direct and indirect transmission, the various ways infection can enter the patienta��s body, and how to avoid contamination through spray or splatter.

Students are taught to break, or ideally to prevent, the chain of infection by sticking to rigorous protocols a�� standardized steps that are proven to reduce patient bacterial exposure. These precautions include donning protective gear such as gloves, mask and eyewear, and ensuring total sterilization of materials and tools between patients.

Dental assistants are truly an essential part of any medical team. Their dedication to maintaining a sterile, safe environment boosts client confidence and earns the respect of collaborating colleagues.

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