Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines

The CDSBC Board approved the Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines at its May 2012 meeting, and the document was distributed to dentists and CDAs with the summer 2012 Sentinel.

It is the practice owner’s responsibility to ensure staff are adequately trained in infection prevention and control procedures, and that the necessary supplies and equipment are available, fully operational, up-to-date and routinely monitored for efficacy.

The words “must” and “should” are used throughout the document:

  • “Must” indicates the minimum standards that are mandatory for dental offices in B.C.
  • “Should” indicates a recommendation that is not mandatory.

Below are some of the key mandatory and recommended practices as outlined in the guidelines.

“Musts” include:

  • Weekly spore testing using either an in-office system (available through dental suppliers) or by submitting the indicator to a testing facility;
  • Review and documentation of the daily operation of every sterilizer noting either “operating as required,” or noting any malfunctions and follow-up action taken;
  • External chemical indicators used on every package of instruments being sterilized;
  • Exposure management protocol in place in case of exposure to blood-borne pathogens;

“Shoulds” include:

  • Gloves, protective eyewear and masks should be task- and patient-specific with the gloves and masks discarded immediately after use;
  • When using a liquid chemical germicide, regular testing using liquid germicide test strips should be done to confirm potency of the agent is sufficient to achieve sterilization;
  • Eating and drinking only in designated areas;
  • Uniforms and scrubs worn during patient care procedures not worn outside the dental office;
  • Devices that contact mucous membranes and are attached to the air or water lines of the dental unit should be activated to discharge air and water for a minimum of 20-30 seconds after each patient use.

Important note: The College of Dental Surgeons of BC does not promote or endorse any specific infection control products, equipment or manufacturers.


CDSBC worked closely with the College of Dental Hygienists of BC for more than two years to develop the Guidelines. The Infection Control Working Group reviewed the feedback received through the consultation process and incorporated it into the document as appropriate. With a few small changes, the Quality Assurance Committee approved the document and submitted it to the Board. The Board approved the Guidelines in May 2012.


© The College of Dental Surgeons, 2015