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Clinical Systems Infection Control

What is the best outerwear for our facility?


This question was submitted by a general dentist: What is the best outerwear for our facility?

Dr. Nita Mazurat, representing the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) has provided this quick initial response

Dentist with lab coat

There is a variety of outerwear utilized in Canadian dental offices. The rationale for this variety ranges from personal comfort (including body temperature control) to patient perception of the office personality (relaxed/professional/surgical).

The type of outerwear will determine hand hygiene procedures. Many offices have adopted use of scrubs or short-sleeved shirts and tee-shirts. Bare arms will need to be washed to the sleeves level when aerosol production has resulted in exposure to saliva and blood.

When leaving the office, whether temporarily or for the day, is it preferable to change into clean street clothes. An alternate practice would be to place a lab coat over the outerwear to cover the contaminated outerwear for the protection and consideration of the general public.

The same applies if the operator wears street clothes as their outerwear. These should be replaced by uncontaminated street clothes. When a traditional lab coat, jacket, or a gown is worn as the routine outerwear, these are removed when eating or leaving the office.

It is preferred that outerwear is transported to the facility and donned once there; and removed when leaving. Hands should be washed after handling contaminated outerwear. Outerwear should be removed and hands washed prior to eating. All contaminated outerwear should be placed into a plastic bag for transport.

When planning an office, requirements for staff lockers and/or for hanging outerwear may be a consideration. Likewise laundry facilities may be considered to prevent transportation of contaminated outerwear.


Do you need further information on this topic? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

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