Management of occupational exposures to potentially infectious materials in dentistry

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether post-exposure measures referred by dentists and dental assistants are in line with those recommended by Brazilian health authorities. METHODS: An epidemiological survey was carried out in a city of Southern Brazil, in 2003. Subjects (289 dentists and 104 dental assistants) were selected through random systematic sampling. Data were collected through self-reported questionnaires. RESULTS: Washing the exposure site was the most common measure taken by dentists (98.5%) and assistants (89.2%) after sustaining a percutaneous injury. More dentists asked the patients if they carried blood-borne viruses after sustaining a percutaneous injury (44.6%) than a splash to a mucous membrane (14.3%). Taking post-exposure prophylaxis, notifying the accident and requesting blood tests to patients were the least remembered and taken measures by dentists and assistants. After sustaining an occupational exposure to potentially infectious materials, 10.8% of dentists and 2.7% of dental assistants sought medical care. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the Brazilian Ministry of Health recommendations, post-exposure management among the study population was considered, in general, inadequate, especially among dental assistants.

Dental Staff; Occupational Exposure; Accidents, Occupational; Health Surveys

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