Taking measures required for infection control is an important part of daily dental practice from both patients’ and practitioners’ point of view. In this regard, it is necessary to have a good knowledge of the required measures and a positive attitude, as well as the appropriate practices in place. Evaluating the results of those studies conducted in Iran indicate a relatively low level of knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding infection control among dentists and dental students. Also, the results suggest that using personal protection devices and taking necessary measures required for infection control are not in accordance with global standards.
The results of the studies evaluated in this review demonstrate that Iranian dentists’ and dental students’ knowledge, attitude, and practice are on an overall poor level. Accordingly, outcomes of other studies conducted in countries such as United States, Italy, Nigeria, and England refer to low level of dentists’ knowledge, attitude, and practice.7,8,23,24
Therefore, there seems to be a need for more education and emphasis regarding infection control for dental students and dentists. Additionally, providers of dental services and supervising organizations should focus more on the subject.
The obtained results suggest that rate of using personal protection devices among Iranian dentists for infection control is not at a desirable level. For example, although it is recommended to use gloves during all procedures involving contact with the patient, this is not always observed by about 25% of the dentists. The rate of using gloves and cover is higher than that of glasses and mask. Given the above-mentioned cases, glasses are used less than other three devices, and a significant gap between the current status and the ideal condition. In comparison with other countries, it can be noted that gloves are used more often in other countries than in Iran. One study conducted in Jordan, for instance, demonstrated that about 81% of the dentists wear gloves while performing dental procedures.1
Another study among orthodontists in Illinois, US showed gloves are used in 97% of the cases. The figure is about 94% in a Canadian study.25
In comparison with high income countries, the use of other personal protection aids such as masks, covers, and glasses is at a lower level among the Iranian professionals. Montagna et al26
have reported 96%, 91%, and 92% as application rate of gloves, mask, and eye-protection glasses. The statistics demonstrate a high application rate of personal protection devices in comparison with Iranian dentists. However, some of previous studies show varying rates of using personal protection devices by dentists27-30
This indicates the need for further continuing education with emphasis on using personal protection devices.
Findings of the present study indicate an inappropriate level of observing necessary actions for infection control such as washing hands before and after contact with the patients, using disposable items, applying disinfectants, and hepatitis B vaccination among Iranian dentists. It can be inferred while a relatively acceptable status exists for measures like using disposable items and disinfectants, other measures like separation of infectious wastes from non-infectious waste, environment health, and washing hands are in a relatively undesirable status. A national study conducted in Canada demonstrated that 94-100% of dentists used disposable devices and 60-96% of them disinfected handpieces after every application.25
The results indicate that 25-94% of Iranian dentists are vaccinated against hepatitis B. This rate varies between 68%-98.9% in different countries,31-34
which indicates a better condition in comparison with Iran.
The findings of the presents study demonstrated a relatively desirable condition for disinfection of dental equipments (exceeding 70%). Another study has shown while about 89% of dentists have the necessary equipments to disinfect their devices, only 45% of them use them.6
The rate of observing infection control measures were shown to be at a low level among Iranian dentists. The issue has been seen in several other studies too.1,35,36
The findings of the studies evaluated have been reported in diverse forms and it can be regarded as a weak point for the present study, not allowing for quantitative analyses and calculating of results mean. However, this study attempted to offer a comprehensive viewpoint towards infection control among Iranian dentists and dental students through summarizing and reporting different aspects of infection control. In order to evaluate the conducted studies and to improve the condition of infection control, further intervention studies are recommended.