Needle-stick injuries among dental professionals as a result of various recapping techniques

Artinian, Tara, Taylor Householder, Jessica Loren, Maria Rotondo, Kristen Simonds, and Margie Coleman

Needle-stick injuries can occur at any point when administering local anesthesia or while recapping a needle. Various techniques are implemented in daily practice by dentists, hygienists, assistants, and others within the dental field. A survey (approved by the Institutional Review Board  #1516-26) was administered to 75 dental professionals at a local meeting. 29 were DDS/DMD, 29 were RDH, 10 were dental assistants, and 7 were other forms of dental professionals. The majority of those surveyed had over 21 years of experience. 51 had never experienced a needle stick injury, while 24 had. From those who responded yes for needle-stick injury, the majority (14) used two-handed recapping techniques. There was 1 injury reported when using a recapping device, and 3 while using a single-handed method. The majority of those who responded yes to needle-stick injuries reported being DDS/DMD (56%). The highest percentage of those who responded no to having an incident were RDH (45%). Based on the information gathered, the majority of needle-stick injuries occurred while using the two-handed method. The occurrence while using single-handed or a recapping device was far less common. The years of experience were not significant in regards to the occurrence of needle-stick injuries. In regards to those who experienced needle-stick injuries, DDS/DMD made up the majority. The majority of those who did not experience needle-stick injuries reported their role being an RDH.