| FAQ - X-Rays - Archived Through 2012
Radiography-film that is not barrier-protected. Our institution does not use barrier pouches. Our protocol is as follow: Once the x-rays are taken, the exposed film is dried of saliva and film is placed on a J-cloth outside operatory. The students are asked to Overlap J-cloth to contact both film surfaces. Is it correct to be able to handle the film packets now with bare hands?
No, bare hands should not be used. Even though you have placed them on a J-cloth the film packets are still contaminated.
We would like to refer you directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings. The guidelines, in part, state the following:
When taking radiographs, the potential to cross-contaminate equipment and environmental surfaces with blood or saliva is high if aseptic technique is not practiced. Gloves should be worn when taking radiographs and handling contaminated film packets. Other PPE (e.g., mask, protective eyewear, and gowns) should be used if spattering of blood or other body fluids is likely. Heat-tolerant versions of intraoral radiograph accessories are available and these semicritical items (e.g., film-holding and positioning devices) should be heat-sterilized before patient use. (1)
After exposure of the radiograph and before glove removal, the film should be dried with disposable gauze or a paper towel to remove blood or excess saliva and placed in a container (e.g., disposable cup) for transport to the developing area. Alternatively, if FDA-cleared film barrier pouches are used, the film packets should be carefully removed from the pouch to avoid contamination of the outside film packet and placed in the clean container for transport to the developing area. (1)
1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Dental
Healthcare Settings. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm