One & Only's needle safety: Campaign educates dental professionals, patients about safe injections

Nov. 15, 2016
Noel Kelsch, RDHAP, discusses campaign to ensure needle safety in dental offices

By Noel Kelsch, RDH, RDHAP, MS

Staying aware ever-changing guidelines, regulations, and best practices can be a struggle in the dental setting. A support system for challenging areas can make a difference. We are all aware that we can protect by using single use items when utilizing needles. If we do not use those items properly, though, we will increase the risk of spreading disease and possibly cause serious damage to patients, including bacterial and viral infections that can be life-threatening.

One support system that I have found to be invaluable is the One & Only campaign that is put together by a coalition led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC). The goal is to raise awareness among patients and health-care providers about safe injection practices. The campaign aims to eliminate infections resulting from unsafe injection practices. This may surprise you: It is not just about sharps injuries; it is also about cross contamination that can be avoided.

This program has a long history starting in the early 2000 as a response to the clear problem presented by hepatitis B and C in the medical setting (also a known risk in dentistry). It continues to increase provider and patient awareness of the need for safe injection practices.

In an interview with Annie Rossetti and Melissa Brower from the CDC, they described the program and its application to the dental setting.

What is the One & Only Campaign and who does it fit in with SIPC?

SIPC is a partnership of health-care organizations that was formed to promote safe injections in all U.S. health-care settings. In 2009, SIPC developed the One & Only Campaign, which is a public health education effort to eliminate unsafe medical injections. The goal of the campaign is to ensure patients are protected each and every time they receive a medical injection. Strategic dissemination of campaign messages and resources occurs through an array of communication channels and audiences.

Today, SIPC is comprised of 15 public health organizations and seven partner states. The One & Only Campaign has over 130 member organizations, including professional groups, health-care systems, provider groups, private companies, and others. Campaign members promote and distribute the campaign's materials and messages to health-care professionals, patients, and/or the public.

How does the One & Only campaign impact the practice of dentistry?

Currently, the campaign has several organizations that represent dental settings and practices, including the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD), Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP), and Ammari Dental in Aurora, CO. The campaign aims to raise awareness about injection safety, including updates related to the intersection of injection safety and dental care.

CDC recently revised and released "Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care." The campaign helped to disseminate information about the release of this document, and shared the resource to partners, members, and other interested parties via the SIPC Digest, campaign website, pocket cards, and social media.

How can a dental professional receive ongoing information on this campaign?

The campaign has active Facebook and Twitter pages, and encourages dental professionals to follow us on social media for regular updates and news. The campaign publishes a weekly newsletter about injection safety and other patient safety news, and also has an injection safety e-mail listserv and RSS feed. To receive the SIPC Weekly Digest, e-mail updates, and/or subscribe to the injection safety RSS feed, please email [email protected]. Dental professionals can find relevant and timely information about injection safety and the campaign at

In regard to the use of dental carpules and multiple injections on a single patient, how does this campaign impact multiple injections with a single needle, or does it?

Safe injection practices for dentistry emphasize the basic principles that when administering local anesthesia, all needles and anesthetic cartridges are used for one patient only and the dental syringe is cleaned and heat sterilized between patients.

How does this program fit in with "The Summary for Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectation for Safe Care?"

The CDC released a resource to help dental health-care personnel prevent causing and spreading infections among their patients. The comprehensive but user-friendly document, "Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care," features several new tools to help personnel understand and follow infection prevention guidelines. For example, the Infection Prevention Checklist (Appendix A, page 20) can be used to assess a dental setting's infection prevention policies and practices and personnel compliance with infection prevention practices.

This campaign can make a difference to the clinician, patient, and community by promoting safe practices and decreasing sharps injuries. It involves both the clinician and patient education. For the patient, it gives them tools to understand safe as well as unsafe injection practices. Utilizing patient brochures and YouTube videos, the patient will be empowered with questions to ask. They will know how to insist on safe practices. RDH

Three reminders about safe injection practices

1. Needles and dental carpules are single-use medical devices. They should not be used for more than one patient or reused after a single use. If they are on the tray, they are done; they are single use. Do not reprocess.
2. Do not administer medications from a single-use dose vial or bag to multiple patients.
3. Limit the use of multiple-dose vials and dedicate them to a single patient whenever possible. Single use vials are the best.

So what can you do as a health-care professional?

  • Join by going to
  • You can order awareness materials at

The One & Only Campaign also has a videos on YouTube, and more information can be updated on the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the One & Only Campaign.

NOEL BRANDON KELSCH, RDH, RDHAP, MS, is a syndicated columnist, writer, speaker, and cartoonist. She serves on the editorial review committee for the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention newsletter and has received many national awards. Kelsch owns her dental hygiene practice that focuses on access to care for all and helps facilitate the Simi Valley Free Dental Clinic. She has devoted much of her 35 years in dentistry to educating people about the devastating effects of methamphetamines and drug use. She is a past president of the California Dental Hygienists' Association.