Adams School of Dentistry: Infection Control Manual - Chapter 05: Hand Hygiene

Appropriate hand hygiene is the simplest and most effective way to break the chain of infection. Utilizing the appropriate method of handwashing however depends on the type of procedure and the potential exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).

Routine Clinical Procedures - Handwashing Protocol

  1. Routine procedures include dental examinations and all non-surgical procedures.
  2. Before gloves are donned and after they are doffed, hands must be thoroughly washed with hand soap for at least 20 seconds and dried with a paper towel.
  3. At any point hands come into direct contact with blood or OPIM, provider must stop and thoroughly wash their hands.
  4. First and last handwashing of the clinic day must be with soap and water, not an alcohol hand rub.
  5. Review this video on appropriate handwashing techniques.

Between Routine Clinical Procedures - Hand Sanitizing Protocol

  1. Hand sanitizer can be used between glove changes, provided gloves were not compromised (i.e., ripped) or debris is visible on hands.
  2. Alcohol hand rubs may be utilized in place of handwashing between glove changes IF hands are not visibly soiled and there is no buildup of emollients.
  3. Before gloves are donned and after they are doffed, hands must be thoroughly rubbed together with adequate amounts of liquid hand sanitizing solution until dry, cover all surfaces of hands/fingers, and wait for hands to be fully dry before donning gloves.
  4. Review this video on appropriate hand sanitizing techniques.

Surgical Procedures - Handwashing Protocol

  1. Surgical handwashing is performed to eliminate transient flora and reduce persistent flora on hands, to prevent organisms from entering an operative wound.
  2. Before gloves are donned and after they are doffed, an antiseptic soap is required instead of regular hand soap.
  3. Alcohol hand rubs may be utilized in place of surgical handwashing between glove changes IF hands are not visibly soiled and there is no buildup of emollients.
  4. First and last handwashing of the clinic day must be with soap and water, not an alcohol hand rub, but can follow the procedure for routine handwashing.
  5. Review this video on appropriate surgical handwashing techniques.

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Article ID: 139921
Created
Sun 6/5/22 3:35 PM
Modified
Mon 10/2/23 3:40 PM
Responsible Unit
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Adams School of Dentistry
Issuing Officer
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Director of Clinical Compliance
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06/07/2025 12:00 AM
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07/24/2023 1:35 PM
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06/07/2022 12:00 AM
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05/18/2020 12:10 PM