Objective: To determine the prevalence of occupational exposure (OE) occurring to dentists, dental nurses and senior dental students in a Chinese dental hospital and to assess associated factors with these exposures.
Methods: Data were collected through anonymous questionnaires, which were distributed to dentists, nurses, and senior dental students.
Results: All 205 dental personnel who voluntarily participated in the survey completed the questionnaire. Up to 71.2% of respondents experienced at least one OE to blood and body fluids (BBF) one year prior to this study. Dentists had a significantly higher incidence of OE than nurses (82.6% verse 60.8%), and a higher incidence of percutaneous injury than students (63.8% versus 41.7%). Sixty-seven percent of exposed dental personnel did not report the incidents and only 4.1% underwent postexposure blood tests. Although 97.6% of respondents wore gloves, more than half the subjects did not use protective goggles or masks during daily dental practice.
Conclusion: There was a high level of OE and a significant incidence of underreporting among Chinese dental personnel, particularly in dentists. Inadequate use of personal protective equipment and ignorance about postexposure management were of great concern.
Keywords: occupational exposure, blood, body fluids, dental personnel, infection control