| FAQ - Miscellaneous - 2014
I am our office's infection control coordinator and our surgical assistants had a question regarding headbands and pony tail holders to keep hair out of face during surgical procedures. Is it okay to wear these things in surgery as long as they are able to be easily cleaned/laundered? Thanks so much in advance!
The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry does not address hair covering or hair management during surgical procedures. 1
Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team states:
One’s hair can become contaminated at work with aerosols and spatter material, but wearing a hair cover is more common during some surgical procedures than during routine dentistry. Routinely washing your hair at home is a good idea. 2
Practical Infection Control In Dentistry states:
Head And Shoe Covers
Head and shoe covers are less frequently used types of PPE, but should be considered if contamination is likely. OSHA does not mandate the use of shoe and head covers in dentistry. DHCP may want to consider using shoe covers when contamination of footwear is anticipated, such as during surgical procedures where unusually heavy bleeding may be anticipated (e.g., maxillofacial reconstructive surgery and trauma surgery). Head covers are optional but may be useful in decreasing contamination of DHCP during ultrasonic scaling, surgical procedures using rotary or ultrasonic instrumentation, and manual decontamination of dental instruments, where spraying and spattering of blood and OPIM may be generated. Head covers also provide maximum protection to patients during surgical procedures. 3
When reviewing some additional resources, for example, the USAF Guidelines for Infection Prevention & Control in Dentistry also includes information on head covers:
The use of head covers is optional, but should be considered when exposure to blood and OPIM in the form of droplet, spray, and spatter are anticipated. Situations that meet these criteria include, but are not limited to, the following: sonic or ultrasonic scaling; surgical procedures using rotary or ultrasonic instrumentation; and manual decontamination of dental instruments where spray and spatter may be generated. 4
A USAF fact sheet also addresses the use of head covers and can be accessed at this link:
In summary, current literature regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) use during oral surgery procedures addresses the use of head covers, but not the use of headbands or ponytail holders.
1) Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm Accessed on January 15, 2014.
2) Miller CH. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team, 5th edition. Elsevier/Mosby Publishers. Page 222.
3) Molinari JA and Harte JA. Practical Infection Control In Dentistry – Third Edition. Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott / Williams & Wilkins. Page 112.
4) USAF Dental Evaluation & Consultation Service. USAF Guidelines for Infection Prevention & Control in Dentistry. http://www.afms.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130404-207.pdf Accessed on January 16, 2014.
5) USAF Dental Evaluation & Consultation Service. PPE: Back to the Basics. http://www.afms.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130327-158.pdf Accessed on January 16, 2014.