| FAQ - Personal Protective Equipment - 2015
What is the recommendation for wearing a hair covering? Several dental hygienists are wanting to wear a hair cover to as they feel the ultrasonic spray is getting into their hair. If a cover is recommended should it be disposable (between patients) or treated like a gown and washed if it becomes visibly soiled or at the end of the day by the employer?
The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry does not address hair covering or hair management. 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:
OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 states as follows:
Personal Protective Equipment:
1910.1030(d)(3)(vi) If a garment(s) is penetrated by blood or other potentially infectious materials, the garment(s) shall be removed immediately or as soon as feasible.
1910.1030(d)(3)(viii) When personal protective equipment is removed it shall be placed in an appropriately designated area or container for storage, washing, decontamination or disposal.
1910.1030(d)(3)(xii) Surgical caps or hoods and/or shoe covers or boots shall be worn in instances when gross contamination can reasonably be anticipated (e.g., autopsies, orthopaedic surgery). 6
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 May 6, 2015.
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.airforcemedicine.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130404-207.pdf Accessed on May 6, 2015.
5) USAF Dental Evaluation & Consultation Service. PPE: Back to the Basics. http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130327-158.pdf Accessed on May 6, 2015.