To help ensure patients are receiving safe care, we require Dental Assistants to meet or exceed the College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta’s (CDSA) Infection Prevention and Control Standards and Risk Management for Dentistry (IPC Standards).
The new Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines (IPC Guidelines) complement the IPC Standards by offering best practices for Dental Assistants as they apply the IPC Standards. Together, these two documents provide clear direction on establishing and maintaining safe practice environments.
The CDSA developed the IPC Standards so that dentists have standardized infection prevention and control strategies in their dental practices. In many dental practices, Dental Assistants play a key role in infection prevention and control activities. However, the whole dental team is responsible for ensuring a safe practice environment for patients and each other.
Echoing the team approach, developing the IPC Guidelines has been a joint project of our College and the College of Alberta Denturists, College of Dental Technologists of Alberta, and the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta. We all wanted to provide more information and clarity for the dental team about current IPC practice.
Since Dental Assistants must follow the IPC Standards, the IPC Guidelines are designed to supplement the Standards. The Guidelines are a practice resource for Dental Assistants, to help them meet the expectations in our Standards of Practice, 11.2e. As they understand and implement the Guidelines into their practice, they place their patients’ well-being first and fulfil their duty to provide safe care.
The Guidelines support dental assisting practice by:
- identifying principles
- giving instructions
- offering information and direction
- providing a framework for decision making
The Colleges created the Guidelines based on the best evidence and the most current data. As such, the IPC guidelines are dynamic and intended to reflect current best practices.