| FAQ - Practice Safety/Patient Safety - Archived Through 2012
Are nose piercings of the HCW a health and safety issue or is a nose piercing acceptable in the HCW? Clearly rings and hand jewelry are a health & safety issue and must be removed. What about earrings?
OSAP is not in a position to provide body piercing, earrings, or general jewelry policies for schools and/or dental facilities. Each school program and/or employer must establish their own policies.
We are not currently aware of any specific regulations concerning healthcare workers and/or students with body/oral/facial piercing. OSAP will refer you to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) for information on this topic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information that may be viewed at:
The American Dental Association's position statement may be viewed at;
The following report may be viewed at: Oral Piercing Jewelry Can Increase Risk for Tooth Loss, Researchers Report:
With regard to earrings, the CDC Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings does discuss hand jewelry but not earrings. In part, the guidelines state:
Studies have demonstrated that skin underneath rings is more heavily colonized than comparable areas of skin on fingers without rings. In a study of intensive-care nurses, multivariable analysis determined rings were the only substantial risk factor for carriage of gram-negative bacilli and Staphylococcus aureus, and the concentration of organisms correlated with the number of rings worn. However, two other studies demonstrated that mean bacterial colony counts on hands after handwashing were similar among persons wearing rings and those not wearing rings. Whether wearing rings increases the likelihood of transmitting a pathogen is unknown; further studies are needed to establish whether rings result in higher transmission of pathogens in health-care settings. However, rings and decorative nail jewelry can make donning gloves more difficult and cause gloves to tear more readily. Thus, jewelry should not interfere with glove use (e.g., impair ability to wear the correct-sized glove or alter glove integrity). (1)
1) CDC Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings: