Sterilization and Disinfection Procedures by Dental Practitioners in Nigeria

  • C. O. ONYEASO Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Medicine,University of Ibadan, Ibadan
  • O. O. da COSTA Department of Child Dental Health, College of Medicine,University of Ibadan, Ibadan
  • M. O. AROWOJOLU Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Medicine,University of Ibadan, Ibadan


Objective: To assess the level of compliance with internationally recommended infection control/Centres for disease control (CDC) guidelines among Nigerian Dentists, and the perception of adequacy of such current sterilization and disinfection procedures as practised by them.
Design: A questionnaire-based survey. Setting: Government-owned and private dental clinics in two major cities (Ibadan and Lagos) with high commercial activities as well as relatively high population of dentists in Nigeria.
Participants and Methods: 76 dentists working in these cities were asked to complete a 10-item questionnaire concerning cross-infection control procedures in dental clinics. For better effectiveness, the distribution of the questionnaire was by hand-delivery and not by mailing system.
Results: The average wound experienced by the respondents represent about 41 wounds per year. Blood was observed in the mouth a mean of 4 per week and 1.07 per week in impression with mean total number of patients per week as 24. Ninety-five percent of the dentists routinely used gloves, 87% used masks, 76% and 21% gowns and eye wear respectively. About 86% chair side assistants routinely used gloves, 59% used masks, 53% used gowns and 5% used protective eye wear. Laboratory assistants were reported to wear masks 28% of the time, gloves and gowns 22% of the time each and eye wear less than mask 7% of the time. The average practice had 19% children, 37% adolescent patients and 44% adults. At least one HBV patient was known and one HBV carrier suspected by 4% and 17% of the respondents respectively. At least one HIV/AIDS known and at least one suspected HIV/AIDS patients were reported by 3% and 18% respectively. One per cent, 11% and 14% reported not using any form of sterilization and disinfecting alginate impression. For HBV infection, 58% said prevention should be aimed at both saliva and blood. No respondent. Sixty-two per cent of the respondents felt their sterilization or disinfection procedures were adequate, 43% felt otherwise while 4% were not sure.
Conclusion: Nigerian dentists are handling the issue of sterilization and disinfection in a variety of manners though a reasonable percentage of them are conscientious and aware of the risk factors. There is, therefore, need for a more coordinated approach to the issue in the face of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and poor Nigerian economy.

KEY WORDS: Survey; Sterilization; Disinfection; Infection control; Dentists

[Nig. Jnl Health & Biomedical Sciences Vol.1(2) 2002: 106-113]

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eISSN: 1595-8272