Objectives: The purpose of this study was to prevent health problems and environmental contamination resulting from inappropriate management of dental wastes and to provide reference data for revision and supplementation of dental clinic waste management guidelines.
Methods: From 640 total of dental clinics registered in 16 cities and counties in Gyeongsangnam-do, 100 (60in Changwon (Masan, Changwon), 29 in Gimhae, and 11 in Jinju) were included in this study. From July 2010to September 2010, investigators visited the 100 dental clinics and conducted survey interviews using a structured survey questionnaire regarding disposal methods for liquid wastes (suction pump, spittoon container waste, used liquid disinfectants, and X-ray developer), and disposal methods for solid waste (suction pump, spittoon container waste, and general medical waste).
Results: All the 100 dental clinics were found to treat liquid waste from suction pumps and spittoon containers in the same manner as general waste water. Nineteen percent of the clinics treated solid waste that was not filtered through the filter of a suction pump as general waste. Fifty or more percent of the clinics treated solid waste in spittoon containers as general waste.
Seventy percent of the clinics used disinfectant solution, although most of them treated used disinfectants in the same manner as general waste water. Some clinics treated used X-ray developer and X-ray fixer in the same manner as general waste water. In most of the clinics, used drapes were washed within the clinic.
Conclusions: It was found that waste water and dental wastes at some dental clinics were treated in inappropriately. Thus, in conclusion, the development of guidelines regarding proper management of liquid and solid dental waste at dental clinics is required, and hygiene and environmental training for workers at dental clinics is necessary.