Statement on Infection Prevention and Control
June 30, 2017
Infection prevention and control in dentistry is vital
for safe patient care. Dentists are extensively trained on infection prevention
and our mandatory continuing education program makes the subject a priority.
Recent cases of dental offices being closed by
Public Health are alarming partly because they are very rare. In every case, the Royal College of Dental
Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) is committed to working with local public health
units, Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to
help protect the public.
dentists in Ontario are required to follow our Guidelines on Infection
Prevention and Control (IPAC). Our Guidelines
are robust and we are currently working to improve and update them with input
from other health care partners.
The Guidelines are clear about our expectations:
have an obligation to maintain the standards of practice of the profession and,
accordingly, must ensure that recommended infection prevention and control
procedures are carried out in their offices. OHCWs [oral health care workers]
must maintain current knowledge of infection prevention and control procedures,
and apply and maintain them appropriately and consistently. To this end, it is
the dentist’s responsibility to ensure that staff are adequately trained in
infection prevention and control procedures, and that the necessary supplies
and equipment are available, fully operational, up-to-date and routinely
monitored for efficacy. In addition to professional obligations, dentists also
have an ethical duty to maintain a safe and healthy office environment for both
patients and staff, and to adhere to all rules and regulations related to the
operation of a dental practice, including workplace health and safety and
Those “professional obligations” include following
public health guidelines as well as the recommendations of manufacturers
of sterilization and other dental office equipment to ensure patient
safety at all times.
The College recently contacted every one of our
members to remind them of their infection control responsibilities. We have also reached out to Public Health
Ontario to discuss the arising concerns and to consider new approaches where
As a result of information provided to us, the
Registrar of the College has ordered a number of investigations. More
information will be available when the investigations are complete.