Systematic review of adherence to infection control guidelines in dentistry

J Dent. 2001 Nov;29(8):509-16. doi: 10.1016/s0300-5712(01)00043-4.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and attitudes of dental health care workers (DHCWs) towards infection control procedures, to examine DHCWs' practising behaviour in respect of infection control, and to determine whether a relationship exists between knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

Methods: Within this systematic review, study quality was assessed in line with selection criteria relating to study design, participants, interventions and outcome measures. Following data extraction, the heterogeneity of study design, targeted participants, sample size and outcome measures precluded a quantitative analysis. Qualitative data synthesis followed.

Results: Overall, the quality of the studies reviewed was poor. Only 71 studies meeting the selection criteria were identified. Data indicated that over the period of the review there have been substantial improvements with compliance in some areas of infection control in dentistry, for example glove wearing. However, other aspects, such as the effective management of needlestick injuries, remain problematic.

Conclusions: More rigorously designed studies are required to assess accurately dental team members' adherence to infection control guidelines.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Dental Auxiliaries
  • Dental Waste
  • Dentists
  • Disinfection
  • Gloves, Surgical
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infection Control, Dental* / methods
  • Infection Control, Dental* / standards
  • Medical Waste Disposal
  • Needlestick Injuries / prevention & control
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Protective Devices
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size
  • Sterilization
  • Vaccination


  • Dental Waste
  • Medical Waste Disposal