Background: Studies conducted in the first decade of the AIDS epidemic indicated that, in general, dentists had suboptimal levels of compliance with standard infection control practices, including work practices designed to reduce exposure to bloodborne pathogens. This study was designed to assess current rates of compliance with these practices in a population of Maryland dentists and to identify correlates of safe work practices.
Methods: We surveyed 648 Maryland dentists using a confidential, self-administered questionnaire.
Results: Three hundred and ninety-two questionnaires were returned (60% response rate). We found that infection control practices were variable as reported by responding dentists. In addition, several potentially modifiable factors were found to be significantly correlated with these practices, including (1) attitudes toward patients infected with HIV and (2) safety program management within the practice.
Conclusion: These data are encouraging in that recommended infection control practices are being adopted, at least among a sample of Maryland dentists. Strategies for further improvement are identified.