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  • Writer's pictureRahul Monga

Nailing Infection Control in NDECC, ADC Practical, Bench Tests: A No-Stress Guide

Updated: May 12


Preparing for dental board exams entails meticulous attention to infection control protocols, a critical yet sometimes overlooked aspect. This guide aims to provide a thorough understanding of these protocols, ensuring not only examination success for NDECC, ADC PRACTICAL, & University BENCH TESTS but, more importantly, the safety of patients and practitioners.

Addressing Psychological Challenges:

Before delving into specific criteria, it is imperative to acknowledge the psychological challenges associated with clinical examinations. The fear of judgment can significantly impact performance. Employing mental preparation techniques, such as visualization and positive self-talk, proves effective in building confidence and alleviating the psychological pressures inherent in examination scenarios.

Emphasizing Hand Hygiene:

Universally recognized as a cornerstone of infection control, proper hand hygiene is non-negotiable. Ensuring hands are thoroughly sanitized before donning gloves prevents potential contamination from hands to gloves. Establishing a routine for hand hygiene before each patient interaction cultivates a habit that significantly reduces the risk of infection. This is a valuable skill to demonstrate in your simulation exams.

Example: Imagine a scenario where a participant neglects hand hygiene before putting on gloves. The potential risk of transferring contaminants from hands to gloves is high, jeopardizing both the patient and the operator.

Adhering to Glove Protocol:

Wearing gloves is a constant in patient interactions. Regular inspection for tears or holes is paramount, as damaged gloves compromise infection control. Proactively requesting a replacement when a tear is identified underscores commitment to infection control protocols.

Example: During an exam, a participant notices a small tear in their glove. Instead of ignoring it, they promptly request a replacement. This proactive approach not only adheres to protocols but also showcases a commitment to infection control.

Environmental Awareness and Contamination Prevention:

Maintaining heightened awareness while wearing gloves outside the operatory is essential to prevent contamination transfer. Practitioners must consciously avoid touching external surfaces, such as masks, glasses, or hair, to uphold a sterile environment.

Example: Picture a participant adjusting their mask while wearing gloves outside the operatory. This seemingly innocuous act could lead to contamination transfer, emphasizing the need for constant environmental awareness.

Demonstrating Instrument and Material Integrity:

Evaluators expect practitioners to use uncontaminated instruments and materials. Seeking permission before using any item dropped on the floor underscores responsibility and adherence to infection control protocols.

Example: A participant accidentally drops an instrument on the floor during a procedure. Instead of picking it up and continuing, they pause, inform the evaluator, and request permission to replace the instrument. This not only adheres to protocols but also showcases responsibility.

Implementing Barrier Strategies:

Surfaces requiring protection through barriers must be identified. Participants should be knowledgeable about the appropriate use of barriers and seek permission before introducing items from other operatories.

Example: Imagine a scenario where a participant notices a surface that needs a barrier but is unsure about its use. They take a moment to consult with the invigilator, demonstrating a commitment to infection control protocols.

Mask Etiquette and Proper Coverage:

Wearing masks correctly is paramount. Practitioners must ensure that masks cover the nose, are pinched at the bridge, and adapt to facial contours. Masks should only be removed during breaks or at the end of the day.

Example: Consider a participant adjusting their mask improperly during a procedure. An invigilator intervenes to correct the technique, emphasizing the importance of proper mask usage and maintaining a sterile environment. The invigilator may not intervene, instead mark this aspect of your assessment as unacceptable.

Handling Sharp Instruments with Safety Precautions:

Avoiding the placement of sharps on countertops or in trash bins is crucial for safety. Practitioners must handle instruments with care to prevent harm to themselves or patients, adhering strictly to established protocols.

Example: Envision a situation where a participant absentmindedly places a sharp instrument on the manikin's bib. The evaluator intervenes, highlighting the potential danger and reinforcing the importance of proper instrument handling.

Develop a systematic approach to instrument handling. Always place sharps in designated containers, and remain vigilant to prevent any potential harm to yourself or patients.

High-Speed Handpieces and Patient Comfort:

Ensuring high-speed handpieces spray enough water on the tooth is essential for patient comfort. Exceptions to this rule require invigilator approval and should only be pursued in cases of technical issues.

Regularly check and maintain your equipment. In case of technical issues, promptly seek invigilator approval to deviate from the standard protocol, ensuring patient safety and adherence to infection control standards.

Simulating Infection Control: Practical Approach:

A valuable approach to mastering infection control is to simulate patient behavior. Participants are encouraged to behave as they would wish their dentist to act, refraining from inappropriate touches and ensuring regular glove and mask changes.

Pre-Exam Preparation: Clinic Familiarization:

A day before the examination, participants are advised to visit the clinic to familiarize themselves with the surroundings. Taking pictures of equipment and creating a detailed map aids in planning barrier placement and overall infection control strategy during the examination. Check with the concerned dental board if it's allowed practice.

Navigating Your Exam Space:

Creating a comprehensive map that delineates clean and contaminated areas assists practitioners in strategically navigating the exam space. This proactive approach contributes to a well-executed infection control task.

Covering Equipment and Home Preparation:

Practitioners should cover specific equipment at home, such as composite guns, crown guns, pens, pencils, switches, doors, and other personal items. This ensures a level of preparedness for the examination day. This is applicable only if you are supposed to bring your own stuff from home. Currently Dental Boards like NDEB & Australian Dental Council are already providing materials and instruments to the participants of the NDECC & ADC Practical exam respectively.

Professional Attire: Scrubs and Lab Coat Protocol:

On the day of the examination, practitioners should wear scrubs and a lab coat. Hanging the lab coat inside out on arrival at the cubicle safeguards the outer surface from aerosol and contamination.

Simulating Infection Control: Professional Approach:

Emphasizing a professional approach to simulating infection control involves meticulous behavior alignment with patient expectations. Practitioners are urged to envision themselves as both the dentist and the patient, fostering positive and confident conduct.

Enhancing Your Skills: NDECC- Clinical Competence Examination Course:

To further hone your infection control skills and prevent common mistakes, consider enrolling in the NDECC Clinical Competence Examination Course. This comprehensive course provides in-depth insights into infection control guidelines, offering practical scenarios and expert guidance. Participants gain valuable knowledge, ensuring they enter their dental board exams well-prepared and equipped to excel in infection control protocols.


Mastering infection control in dental board exams necessitates a multifaceted approach. By incorporating psychological readiness, strict adherence to protocols, and strategic planning, practitioners can elevate their performance. This comprehensive guide equips dental professionals with the tools needed to prioritize patient safety and excel in infection control protocols during examinations.


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