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J Dent Educ. 2009 Jan;73(1):133-6.

Should preclinical typodonts be disinfected prior to grading?

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  • 1University of Mississippi School of Dentistry, Jackson, MS 39216, USA. JAycock@sod.umsmed.edu


This is a report of a unique finding in a preclinical laboratory that may be a potential dental school health hazard. Visual inspection (conducted in April 2008 by a preclinical crown and bridge course coordinator) of typodonts used by second-year students at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry found that fourteen out of thirty-nine had black spots on the undersurface of the cheek shroud and/or plastic gingiva. The spots were cultured by the Medical Center's Department of Microbiology and described only as being mold/fungus typical of that which frequently grows in warm, moist, southern environments. Although indoor molds are common, about 5 percent of the general population will develop some type of mild allergic airway problem from molds over their lifetime. Mold on typodonts is unsightly, indicates failure of students to recognize the value of cleanliness in the dental environment, and may be a potential health hazard for some individuals. Cleaning and drying procedures for typodonts were implemented. The transfer of items between students and instructors during preclinical courses provides many opportunities for the spread of potentially harmful microorganisms/viruses. As a minimal level of personal protection, it is suggested that instructors wear disposable gloves and face masks and exercise hand washing between handling student instruments and typodonts. This problem has not been previously mentioned in the literature and merits further investigation/discussion.

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