Skip to main content

Infection Control in Dental Clinics, Riyadh Survey, 1997.


Currently, no standard instruction or procedures for infection control are available for dental clinics run by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health in primary health care centers in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia. We need to discover the current level of infection control, set standards and procedures for infection control and advise dentists of correct techniques.


A cross-sectional study was designed. A questionnaire was prepared for dentists and assistants on their knowledge and practice of infection control and the available facilities in their clinics for infection control.


Of dentists, 97% were Saudi, 91% were graduates of King Saud University and 78% had been vaccinated against hepatitis B. Only 50% of dentists practiced universal precautions (a low percentage because a low percentage of dentists used eye protectors). For patients' protection against aerosols and spatter, 76% of dentists used saliva ejectors, 21% used rubber dams and 3% used both. For patients with highly infectious diseases, 88% of dentists used universal precautions and 70% scheduled the patient at the end of the day. Of dentists, 97% learned sterilization techniques at dental college, 60% sterilized instruments after each patient, and 94% practiced the correct sequence of sterilization steps. Only 30% of the dentists autoclaved handpieces, only 47% of dental clinics had autoclaves, 47% had dry heat ovens and 6% had no device for sterilization.


A number of deficiencies in infection control were identified, including personal protection for dentists and assistants, knowledge of dentists and assistants, equipment, and protection of patients.