Compliance with infection control practices when taking dental x-rays: Survey of a Japanese dental school

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The aim of this study was to assess knowledge, attitude, behavior, and compliance concerning infection control among dental practitioners in a dental university hospital in Japan. A 12-item questionnaire about infection control during radiographic procedures was distributed to 686 dental personnel working at Osaka Dental University. The questionnaire collected information on occupation and the use of gloves, holders, door handles, control panels, dental chairs, protectors, tube head, tube arms, tube cones, and keyboards for personal computers. To identify misunderstandings about, and thus noncompliance with, current infection control practices, the percentage of correct answers (PCA) was calculated. Understanding and compliance with the current practices was considered low when <75% and high when ≥75%. In addition, contaminated objects in the clinical setting were examined using black light. PCA was low for one question on using gloves in film positioning and high for three questions on using protective film barriers, regardless of the respondents' occupation. PCA was generally high for three questions on practicing hand hygiene before putting on gloves, methods to protect film holders, and methods to protect radiographic equipment, but was low among some subjects. PCA was generally low for four questions on using film protective barriers, developing images from unprotected films, practicing hand hygiene after removing gloves, and awareness of a procedures manual for taking intraoral x-rays, but was high among some subjects. Saliva contamination of radiographic equipment was confirmed by direct visualization using black light. Awareness was low of infection control measures to be used during intraoral projection. This study indicates the need for additional education and training to improve infection control practices, through, for example, using a standard procedures manual for all dental practitioners and visual evidence (visualization) of contamination.

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