The various surfaces present in the dental opera tory have different requirements concerning disinfection that depend on the potential for contamination and the degree of patient contact with the surface. Any surface
that a patient or their secretions contact is a potential carrier of infectious organisms, In addition, when high-speed drilling equipment is used, patient blood and secretions are dispersed over much of the opera tory’s surfaces. The operatory can be disinfected in two basic ways. The first is
to wjpe all surfaces With a hospital-grade disinfectant solution. The second is to cover surfaces with protective shields that are changed betwee.n…. each patient. Fortunate.
ly, many chemical disinfectants, including chlorine compounds and glutaraldehyde, can prevent transfer, of the hepatitis viruses when used on surfaces in certain concentrations (0.2% for chlorine, 2% for glutaraldehyde). Headrests, tray tables, hosing and lines, nitrous oxide and chair controls, and light handles can be covered with oommercially
available, single-use, disposable covers; the rest of the dental chair can be quickly sprayed with a disinfectant (Fig. 5-6). Countertops usually come into contact with patients only indirectly, so counters should be periodically disinfected, especially before surgical procedures. Limiting
the number of object’s left on counters in operatories will make periodic cleaning easier and more effective.
Soap dispensers and sink faucets are another source of contamination. ‘Bnless they can be activated without using the hands, they should be frequently disinfected because many bacteria” survive-even thrive-in a soapy environment (discussed later in this section). This is one
reason soap is not the ideal agent when preparing hands for surgery.
Anesthetic equipment used to deliver gases, such as oxygen or nitrous oxide, may also spread patient-topatient infection. Plastic nasal cannulas are designed to be discarded after one use. Nasal masks and the tubing
leading to the mask from the source of the gases are available in disposable form or can be covered with disposable sleeves.