|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2014 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 157
Needle stick injuries in restorative dentistry: The need for prevention
Department of Prosthodontics, Ziauddin College of Dentistry, Karachi, Pakistan
|Date of Web Publication||29-Oct-2014|
Department of Prosthodontics, Ziauddin College of Dentistry, Karachi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Rashid H. Needle stick injuries in restorative dentistry: The need for prevention
. J Res Dent 2014;2:157
Risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens has always been a problem for healthcare professionals including dental professionals. The emergence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 1981 brought the issue to the forefront of public health policy. Percutaneous injuries, which include needle stick injuries (NSI), expose dental healthcare workers to deadly blood-borne pathogens such as Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The risk of transmission of HCV, HBV, and HIV from patient to the healthcare personnel is 3%, 30%, and 0.3%, respectively. , Although the likelihood of being infected by a blood-borne virus (BBV) may be low after a single exposure, the consequences for the dental professional who becomes infected are potentially serious and include the potential of transmission of blood-borne pathogens and associated detrimental effects on their personal and professional lives. 
Needles used for injecting local anesthesia during restorative procedures and the use of sharps during endodontic and prosthodontic procedures pose a high risk of transmission of BBVs. Procedures in restorative dentistry that may make the patient to cause a sudden jerky movement can lead to increase probability of NSI. Thus, education and training regarding the use of universal precautions when handling body fluids should be conducted. New employees should go through the training program stressing the need to report all injuries and the availability of chemoprophylaxis. Improving sharps disposal by introducing improved sharps containers in the dental clinics. Sharps should be disposed immediately. Recapping and re-sheathing should be discouraged and new arrangements for sharps disposal should be done to avoid overfilling boxes.
NSI prevention strategies for dental professionals should be implemented in the dental curriculum and during the pre-occupational/occupational training programs. Since a relatively high percentage of patients are positive for major blood-borne infections, the risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens for healthcare workers through NSI should not be ignored. Regular health checkups, tests for serum antibodies and antigens of HBV, and appropriate hepatitis B vaccination are mandatory for occupational safety of healthcare workers. Report of NSI cases should be encouraged since it is needed for root cause analysis of the adverse events and future prevention. The report of NSI events is also highly important for the injured parties in view of risk assessment and implementation of appropriate prophylactic measures for blood-borne infections.
| References|| |
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