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Effectiveness of Gloves and Infection Control in Dentistry: Student and Provider Perspectives

1 May 2009


The objectives of this study were to explore dental and dental hygiene students’, graduate students’, and dental professionals’ preferences for certain types of gloves and the reasons for these preferences (Aim 1), as well as determining their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior concerning the use of dental gloves as a means of barrier protection (Aim 2). Data were collected from 198 dental and forty-six dental hygiene students, thirty-five graduate students, and seventy-nine dental professionals (twenty-eight dentists and fifty-one dental hygienists in private practice). The subjects responded to a self-administered anonymous survey. Professionals (dentists: 96.4 percent and dental hygienists: 92.2 percent) were found to be more likely to have a preference for certain types of gloves than students (dental students: 79.2 percent and dental hygiene students: 76 percent) and graduate students (77.1 percent; p=.033). “Comfort” was most frequently reported as a reason for glove preference. Large percentages of respondents wrongly believed that gloves provide full protection (students: 50.8 percent; graduate students: 25.7 percent; professionals: 30.4 percent), thought that gloves provide protection as long as there is no visible tear (students: 39.7 percent; graduate students: 28.6 percent; professionals: 18.2 percent), and reported that they would not change gloves during an uninterrupted three-hour long procedure (students: 32.2 percent; graduate students: 23.5 percent; professionals: 22.7 percent). These findings should alert dental educators about the importance of educating their students as well as practicing professionals clearly and comprehensively about infection control and the science and rationale supporting recommended guidelines.


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