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Infection Control Practices in the MOH Dental Units, Jazan, Saudi Arabia, 2006-1427H


Infection control has become one of the most discussed topics in dentistry. Dental care professionals are at an increased risk of cross infection while treating patients. With a rise in the number of people infected with hepatitis B and the AIDS viruses, cross infection has become of paramount concern to the dentist and his patient. The objective of this study is to assess the infection control practices for dentists working in MOH dental units in Jazan region, Saudi Arabia.


The study was accomplished using a cross-sectional survey confined to Ministry of Health (MOH) dental practices in Jazan region. Dental care in Jazan is delivered at 3 levels, at primary health care centers (PHCC) where there is one general practitioner dentist (GPD) at 34 out of 133 PHCC, general hospital where there is 1-2 GPDs at each of the 15 general hospitals with the total of 29 dentists and at the dental care center where there are 7 GPDs and 8 dental specialists. With each dentist there is a nurse. We selected all dentists working in these health facilities. A self-administered questionnaire was developed. Odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence interval (95%CI) and P value were used to calculate the likelihood of compliance among the dentists studied.


All the total 78 questionnaires, (100%) were completed. The mean age ± stander deviation (SD) of the responding dentists was 33.9±7.8 years. Dentists were of different nationalities. 70 (89.7%) were general practitioners, while 8 (10.3%) were specialists. Years of experience ranged from 1 to 20 years with a mean ± SD of 11.8±6.7. 52 (66.7%) of dentists examined more than 15 patients daily. A total of 20 (25.6%) of dentists reported they had a history of a needle stick during treatment of patients. 63 (80.7%) dentists stated that they had been vaccinated against hepatitis B virus. All stated they always used gloves after each patient during dental treatment, and 97.4% of those who wore a facemask changed it after each patient. Of the studied dentists, 89.7% said they refused to treat AIDS patients and 46.2% refused to treat hepatitis patients. Only 15.4% of respondents have followed the full requirements of infection control practices. Among dentists examining or treating 10 patients or less daily, 38.5% were compliant to infection control practice, while it is only 10.8% among those who examine 10 patients or more daily. Those who examined 10 patients or less daily were about five times more likely to be compliant than those who examined more than 10 patients daily and this was found to be statistically significant (OR=5.12, 95%CI= 1.3-20.2).


The observation that very few respondents have followed the full requirements of infection control practices developed by ADA and CDC is significant. Universal cross-infection control procedures should be implemented when treating each patient.