Preventing the dental needle prick injury (DNPI) : a new approach to safe disposal.
The responsibility for the safe disposal of used or contaminated needles rests with the user. Percutaneous injuries to dentists, dental students, dental assistants and support staff charged with medical waste disposal are quite common. These are occasioned by “sharps” including used dental needles which are used with special dental syringes. The burden of serious occupational hazards of infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Lassa and Ebola Virus diseases which can be contracted through such injuries can be quite costly to the dental health care worker and to the healthcare system in general. Dental needle prick injury (DNPI) prevention devices exist but are not readily available for routine use especially in developing countries like Nigeria and are not regularly used by practitioners where they are available. These devices should also protect healthcare workers who are involved in the evacuation of such used dental needles. This paper introduces a technique of discarding the used dental needle in a safe manner which can reduce the risk of percutaneous injuries to dentists and their support staff and health care workers involved in medical waste disposal leading to safe incineration.
Keywords: dental needle, prick, injury