The recent Oklahoma scandal regarding the dentist who used rusty instruments, contaminated blood which caused a patient to contract Hepatitis, and also used bleach as a disinfectant on his instruments has caused a pretty severe reaction from the American public. This is understandable, as the entire affair sounds like a bad horror story, and American patients are now double checking their dentist’s credentials, which is all well and good. This affair has also brought to light one of the most often contaminated areas of the dental practice, a little piece of equipment that no one suspected, thus no one thought to put into the autoclave.
The Bib Clip
When you go to your dental appointment, they give you a bib to wear. This is so that you do not drool or bleed all over your clothes, and that the materials used also do not get on your clothing. This bib is held in place with a small clip. This is a bib clip, and although it gets washed and disinfected, it does not go into the autoclave, as that is a spot reserved for dental instruments and the bib clip simply does not qualify as one. Because of this the bib clip may play an important role in cross contaminations and infections without any seeming cause or reason.
Why The Focus
The reason this particular piece of equipment has come into focus so much is because six separately conducted studies that deal with infection control all came up with the result that the most contaminated area in a dentistry is indeed the bib clip. This is why a whole host of webinars and adult education seminars are going to be dealing with this topic, and this piece of equipment will be the main topic in many training courses as well. Apparently sometimes things just get overlooked, and this bib clip is certainly one of those things.
The implications are that it is a possibility that dental practices need to step up their hygiene game up a little bit by cleaning the bib clip as thoroughly as a dental instrument. But do not worry, this does not mean that you have been exposed to dangerous pathogens, or that you are now in danger every time you go to a dental appointment. It’s just that this has not been taken care of until now, and from now on it will need to be addressed. So don’t go too wild, everything will be running as usual.