Hygiene – the top priority for dental surgeries
The International Dental Show (IDS) is held in Colgne every two years. It is organised by the Society for the Promotion of the Dental Industry (Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Dental-lndustrie); otherwise known as the commercial arm of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI).
One of the key themes at this year's exhibition is the implementation of hygiene regulations and how the best quality management systems can incorporate surgery hygiene.
The process of introducing quality management systems into dental practices is now all but complete. However, there are further challenges ahead. Surgery hygiene continues to be a priority for legislators with the regular introduction of new regulations. The recently introduced requirement for annual testing of drinking water for Legionella bacteria is a typical example. The consequences for non-compliance are severe and can even lead to the closure of a practice. Manufacturers of dental industry equipment, systems and solutions are on-hand to offer the support that dentists need to prepare their practices for the introduction of new regulations. The IDS 2013 provides a forum for manufacturers from all over the world to present their products for ensuring that instruments, surfaces and hands in a dental practice are cleaned, disinfected or sterilised and monitored as part of a top quality management system.
The importance of cleanliness and disinfection to a dental practice cannot be over-emphasised. The health of patients and staff alike depend on it. Whilst the need to disinfect medical instruments (e.g. drills) is obvious; the cleanliness of other equipment, trays and floors should not be overlooked. Selecting the correct products and systems to achieve quick and effective yet safe disinfection is the key.
Yet, being clean is not enough. In this image-conscious age is also important to 'appear' to be clean to patients. Perfume concentrates have proved particularly useful in replacing a surgery smell with a clean, fresh odour which patients find re-assuring.
Implementing the recommendations for instrument hygiene produced by the Robert Koch Institute can be demanding. Modern dental practice equipment can offer the solution. Equipment such as the latest models of autoclaves and thermo-sterilizers combine a best practice sterilisation method with an integrated computerised record system which not only removes the need for outdated paperwork but also contributes to a sophisticated quality management system.
Effective quality management systems need to be tailored to the needs of the individual practice. Modern computer software has built-in flexibility that allows it to be adapted to the surgeries characteristics and requirements. It is recognised that a quality management system is only as effective as the staff that operate it; this is why companies now visit dental practices and hold on-site training sessions.
As the world's largest dental trade fair, the IDS 2013 (March 12th – 16th) provides the ideal opportunity for all surgery staff to examine the state-of-the-art equipment and obtain the information and advice that they need. As Dr Markus Heibach, Executive Director of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers has said, quality management should be seen as "an opportunity to steadily improve all of the processes of a dental surgery's daily operations."