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administrative controls

policies or work practices used to prevent or control exposure to pathogenic organisms


tiny droplets such as acids in the atomosphere that can be inhaled


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which results in a variety of infections and a breakdown of an individual's immune system over time

Airborne transmission

Transmission of harmful organisms suspended in the air. Droplets can attach themselves to something in the air (dust, etc).

Alcohol -based hand rub

waterless antiseptic preparation rubbed into hands without water


substance producing a hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction

allergic contact dermatitis

Type IV hypersensitivity reaction that follows exposure to allergen. Lesions occur at site of contact.


a severe response to an allergen in which the symptoms develop quickly, and without help, the patient can die within a few minutes.


specialized protein that helps destroy disease-causing organisms

antimicrobial agent

Agent that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms.


an agent that inhibits the growth or kills infectious microorganisms

antiseptic handwash

Washing hands with water & soap or other detergent containing an antiseptic agent

antiseptic hand rub

1. Apply ample amount to palm
2. Rub, covering all surfaces
3. Continue rubbing until dry


a broad term commonly used to denote any dental prosthesis


absence of significant contamination/microorganisms

aseptic technique

steps necessary to ensure an environment free from pathogens

bacterial count

method of estimating the number of bacteria per unit in a sample (CFU/ml)

bacterial endocarditis

an inflammation of the lining or valves of the heart caused by the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream


an item that blocks the penetration of microorganisms from contaminating the object under it


any visible organic debris; in dentistry, most often blood or saliva

biological indicator

method for testing the sterilization capability of a sterilizer; contains microorganisms that are killed when exposed to a sterilization process. Only method of guaranteed sterility of an item.


A complex community of microorganisms (bacteria)
that form a smear layer


hazard to humans or the environment resulting from biological agents or conditions


excision of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination

bloodborne disease

Disease spread by direct contact with blood or other possible infectious material (AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis).

bloodborne pathogen

Microorganism capable of causing diseases found in blood or components of blood.


a person who has some pathogen to which he is immune but who can pass it on to others

Chain of infection

Infectious agent, reservoir, portal of exit, means of transmission, portal of entry and susceptible host.

chemical indicator

a color change stripe or other mark, often on autoclave tape or bag, used to monitor the process of sterilization; color change indicates that the package has been brought to a specific temperature, but it is not an indicator of sterilization


The process of removing dirt, dust, blood, or other visible contaminants from a surface

clinical contact surface

surface touched by contaminated hands, instruments or spatter during dental treatments


to establish a colony, or group or organisms in or on a solid surface


safequarding of information, protection of private or sensitive information

conscious sedation

anesthesia; also known as moderate sedation; a decreased level of consciousness in which the patient is not completely asleep

contact time

amount of time the disinfectant has to be in contact with the contaminant in order to eliminate all pertinent microorganisms.


soiled, unclean; having disease-causing organisms or infectious material on it


catagory of instruments that cut or penetrate bone or tissue. substantial risk of acquiring infection if contacted with


The spreading of microorganisms between two persons and /or surfaces

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