Tuberculosis: Infection control/exposure control issues for oral healthcare workers

Nuaia B. Porteous, Geza T. Terezhalmy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: The aim is to present the essential elements of an infection control/exposure control plan for the oral healthcare setting with emphasis on tuberculosis (TB). Methods and Materials: A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted with special emphasis on TB infection-control issues in the oral healthcare setting. Results: Currently available knowledge related to TB infection-control issues is supported by data derived from well-conducted trials or extensive controlled observations. In the absence of supportive data the information is supported with the best-informed, most authoritative opinion available. Conclusion: Essential elements of an effective TB infection-control plan include a three-level hierarchy of administrative, environmental, and respiratory-protection controls. Clinical Significance: Standard precautions provide the fabric for strategies to prevent or reduce the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious material. However, standard precautions are inadequate to prevent the spread of organisms through droplet nuclei 1-5 micron in diameter and additional measures are necessary to prevent the spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Oral healthcare settings have been identified as outpatient settings in which patients with suspected or confirmed infectious TB disease are expected to be encountered. Therefore, oral healthcare settings must have a written TB infection-control program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Contemporary Dental Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Latent TB infection
  • TB disease
  • TB infection-control
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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