You might not think about it much when you're sitting in a dentist's chair, but when she's performing a procedure or examination on your mouth, some of your dentist's tools may cause bodily fluids to splash and spatter. Because infectious diseases can be spread through saliva, blood and mucous, dentists need to wear gloves, face masks, protective eyewear and protective clothing.
Personal Protective Equipment
Wearing protective clothing and personal protective equipment, or PPE, is not just a personal safety measure -- it's also the law. The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires dental professionals to wear gloves, protective eyewear and masks to protect themselves against pathogens. Dentists also need to wear protective clothing. Anytime a dentist is doing a procedure that could involve splattering or splashing, he'll need that face mask and eye protection, as well as a gown or jacket that protects his skin. The type of gloves he wears depend on what type of procedure he's doing, which may include surgical or examination gloves. Their clothing needs to be changed daily, or more often, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OSHA also requires employers to wash any uniforms, such as scrubs, gowns or jackets, that dental professionals wear in the workplace, to prevent the spread of contamination outside of the office.
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