This past week the national news has reported extensively about a Tulsa, Oklahoma oral surgeon who was allegedly not using appropriate sterilization and infection control protocols that may have compromised the health and safety of some patients. This problem was compounded by the lack of an office inspection procedure by the Oklahoma Dental Board that could have discovered and corrected the abnormalities long before they became a public health issue.
In Kansas, the Kansas Dental Board has rules and regulations and procedures in place that make sure the health and safety of all Kansans is protected while in the dental chair. The Kansas Dental Board diligently reviews and performs a hands-on inspection of all dental offices in the state on a three-year cycle by licensed dentists trained in infection control and sterilization guidelines.
Under the direction of Lane Hemsley, JD, Executive Director of the Kansas Dental Board, the dental inspectors review a number of areas each dental office, including: (1) Sterilization and infection control; (2) surface decontamination and protective barriers; (3) protection from sharps exposure; (4) sterilization procedures; (5) cold sterilization; (6) biological spore testing; (7) decontamination/ disinfection to and from laboratories; and (8) overall cleanliness. The inspectors use a Sterilization and Infection Control Check List which was developed by the Board in accordance Kansas Administrative Regulation.
The Kansas Dental Association further encourages all patients be aware of overall cleanliness of their dental office. Patients may request that all sterilized instruments be opened in front of you and that all gloves be put on in front of you. Talk with your dental professional about any health concerns you may have and ask question prior to and during your dental visit. Finally, if you have any concerns, do not hesitate to report them to the Kansas Dental Board.