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  • Dentists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Assisting
Hours: 3 Contact Hours
Author(s): Ellen Dietz-Bourguignon, BS, CDA-Emeritus
Peer Reviewer(s): Veronica Powers, DMD
Item#: L0764
Contents: 1 Course Book (34 pages)
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Occupational Environmental Hazards in the Dental Office: Health Risks and Preventive Measures, 2nd Edition

Price $29.95
Item # L0764
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Review Date: July 21, 2016

Expiration Date: July 20, 2019


There are many potential occupational health hazards associated with working in a dental office. Some health risks have long been known to the dental profession; others have only more recently been discovered as potential health risks. No member of the dental team is immune to these potential hazards. Every team member must take precautions and employ preventive measures to reduce personal health risks associated with occupational hazards.

This basic-level course presents information on the health risks associated with mercury, radiation, caustic agents, nitrous oxide, oxygen and ethylene oxide, airborne particles and contaminants, latex allergies, white visible light and dental lasers, and bonding materials and acrylics. Also discussed are steps to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and minimize hazardous noise levels in dental practice.

Using the latest information, the dental team can implement or update its hazard communication and/or office safety programs and heighten awareness among both experienced employees and new hires.


AGD Subject Code: 130
Western Schools designates this activity for 3 continuing education credits.


Course Objectives

  • Identify common health risks and preventive measures associated with mercury, radiation, and hazardous chemicals used in dentistry.
  • Identify common health risks and preventive measures associated with noxious gases and bioaerosols in dentistry.
  • Identify common health risks and preventive measures associated with latex, visible white light, dental lasers, and bonding materials.
  • Identify common health risks and preventive measures associated with hazardous noise levels.
  • Identify common health risks and preventive measures associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and hand injuries.


Ellen Dietz-Bourguignon, BS, CDA-Emeritus, earned her bachelor of science degree in allied health education in dental auxiliary utilization and a community college teaching certificate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She began her dental career as an associate-degreed certified dental assistant in private practice. Following a 7-year dental assisting teaching career at Orange County Community College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Erie County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and Niagara County Community College, she began writing on dental topics for Dental Assisting Magazine, eventually rising to the position of managing editor. Ms. Dietz-Bourguignon has worked in dental marketing, project management, and product development at Semantodontics and in legal administration for the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners. She has published five books in the dental assisting market, including Dental Office Management and Safety Standards and Infection Control for Dental Assistants, and has been keynote speaker at the American Dental Assistants Association Annual Session. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, including The Dental Assistant, Dentist, The Dental Student, Dental Economics, RDH, and Dental Teamwork.


Veronica Powers, DMD, received a BS degree from Providence College and a DMD degree from the Oregon Health & Science University. After working for four years as a general dentist in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Powers returned to New York City to serve as lead dentist for Phoenix House Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, where she provided comprehensive treatment for the residents of a rehabilitation facility. In this capacity, she performed simple and surgical extractions and root canals and placed crowns, bridges, and removable prosthodontics. Dr. Powers created the protocol for the day-to-day management of the clinic and became especially adept at treating anxious patients. Now in private practice, Dr. Powers is licensed to practice dentistry in the state of New York, maintains registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is CPR-certified. She has provided volunteer dentistry in India and in Chiapas, Mexico, and has worked with the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile program in the United States.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.