Guest Author – John O’Keefe, BDentSc, MDentSc, MBA
Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP)
Because safe injection and sharps management practices are central to dentistry, the One & Only Campaign resonates strongly in the dental care sector. That is why the Organization for Safety Asepsis & Prevention (OSAP), the dental sector’s premier organization dedicated to infection prevention and control, is joining the Campaign as a Member. We whole-heartedly support the Campaign and pledge to spread its messages to our members. We are also eager to share information on how we in the dental care sector promote safe injection practices with the healthcare community at large.
It was through my own personal experience in 1984 that I really learned about the importance of safe injection practices and how they relate to creating the safest dental visit possible. I had joined a practice where I was replacing another dentist who had left to set up his own practice elsewhere. I quickly learned that for months this dentist had been taking partially-used local anesthetic carpules from the old practice and re-using them in his new office. I was shocked by this behavior, especially when “one needle, only one time” thinking was already so ingrained in dentistry with regard to local anesthetic practices.
Coincidentally, since 1984, OSAP has been making sense of emerging infection control guidance and regulations, giving practical advice, and providing education to professionals in our sector. While we know that OSAP’s work has had great influence in promoting safe dentistry, it was disappointing to us last year that unsafe practices in an oral surgeon’s office led to the first documented report of patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis C in a U.S. dental setting.
OSAP knows that work remains to be done to promote safe injection practices, and with the One & Only Campaign, we are happy not to be alone.