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Jewelry and Artificial Nails: OK During Dental Treatment? – Infection Control

While not specifically prohibited by in California, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that dental personnel with direct contact with patients refrain from wearing artificial nails, keeping natural nail tips short and groomed, and stop wearing jewelry that could interfere with glove use or dental treatment in general (necklaces that hang low, potentially interfering with the dental procedure).

Artificial nails have been implicated in multiple outbreaks involving fungal and bacterial infections in hospital intensive-care units and operating rooms. Keeping natural nails trimmed and groomed is essential because (1) the majority of microorganisms on the hands are found under and around the fingernails, and (2) sharp nail edges or broken nails are likely to increase glove failure.

And while there is no evidence that wearing hand jewelry increases the likelihood of pathogen transmission, rings can make donning gloves difficult and can cause gloves to tear more easily. Therefore, jewelry that interferes with glove fit and glove integrity should not be worn.

It is a good idea to establish a clear and concise office policy on artificial nails and jewelry.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered dental continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

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