If you pursue a career as a dental assistant or in any facet of the healthcare field, you will quickly learn about universal precaution. Universal precaution has prevent the spread of many diseases in healthcare settings, and its usage is an absolute requirement as a dental assistant.
What Is Universal Precaution?
Universal Precaution is, at its essence, the practice of treating each patient as though he or she is carrying a bloodborne disease. It became the standard of practice in the late 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic; doctors and researchers quickly realized that they did not know who was carrying this deadly disease simply by looking at them or by considering where or how they lived. Anyone could carry HIV, and they might not even know that they had it. Therefore, everyone had to be considered a potential carrier.
What Are the Practices?
The practices of universal precaution vary depending on how invasive a procedure you are performing. As a dental assistant, your practices will include wearing gloves and masks, washing your hands between patients and anytime you get blood or other bodily fluids on them, and disinfecting all surfaces in a room between patients. You will also need to take precautions against accidental needle-sticks, practice good cough hygiene and dispose properly of all biohazardous materials, including used gloves, bloody gauze and any other disposable materials that have been contaminated by bodily fluids.
Who Does Universal Precaution Protect Against?
By adopting the standards of universal precaution, you not only protect yourself, but you are also protecting your patients. Wearing gloves means that you will not be exposed to your patients’ potentially contaminated blood; washing your hands and donning new gloves (in addition to proper disinfection and sterilization techniques) ensures that your next patient won’t be exposed to a previous patient’s body fluids.
It is important to realize that AIDS or HIV are not the only conditions that you are protecting against by using universal precaution; pathogens such as Hepatitis can be more virulent than HIV and you have to assume that any and all patients can be carrying these diseases.
It is also important to understand that you do not need to take extra precautions with patients who you know are carrying HIV, Hepatitis or other bloodborne illnesses; universal precaution is enough to protect you against these viruses whether or not the patient in question has them. If a patient is known or suspected of carrying an airborne illness, though, such as influenza, measles or tuberculosis, for example, additional precautions might be necessary.
Universal precaution is something that you will learn about in our dental assisting program. This is a vital part of your preparation for any healthcare career, as it will be a matter of policy in any private medical or dental office, hospital, nursing home or other healthcare setting.
Jaylyn Miller September 5, 2017
Prior to attending Sunrise School of Dental Assisting I had zero knowledge of the dentistry field and what this career choice would have in store for me. I had an awesome instructor, as well as current Dental Assistants at Sunrise, to help guide me and continue to be successful in my career. Everyone has been extremely helpful and I have had nothing less than a great experience. After graduation, I was hired on by Sunrise and couldn’t be more happy with my job and the decision to attend Sunrise School of Dental Assisting! Thank you all!!
Katie Panchak February 17, 2017
If you’re looking into a promising career as a dental assistant, look no further! I recently graduated from Sunrise School of Dental Assisting and couldn’t be happier with the program! This course provided me with all the knowledge and tools that I needed to become successful in my field. Now I am proud to say that after graduation I have been hired on by Sunrise Dental and LOVE my job! Thanks guys!
Madison McCullock January 12, 2017
Sunrise School of Dental Assisting provided me with the knowledge and skills I needed to begin my career in the Dental field. The instructors were very helpful and thorough in explaining the lessons and procedures to the class, and also made it a point to provide any additional help/tutoring before/after lessons for students. I enjoyed my experience at Sunrise School of Dental Assisting. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to receive the proper education necessary in order to excel in their Dental Assisting career
Ashley Hicks June 15, 2016
At Sunrise they give you the tools you need to become successful as a Dental Assistant. You have smaller numbers in the class, so you are able to have more one on one time with an instructor if needed. It is a fast paced class, but the instructor is willing to meet with you before class time if you need help. It is a good balance between lectures and actual lab time. You have great hands on experience and work with live “patients” (class members) in order to get an actual feel of what it would be like. The team at Sunrise Dental are very encouraging and push you to strive for your best. They also help with shadowing at different offices and even inform you if there are job openings at other offices. I would recommend this program to anyone and know that they would also get the great training that I have received!