top of page
  • Writer's picturesqdentalservices

Why Nail Enhancements SHOULD NOT Be Worn By Dental Health Care Workers


It is important to ensure that your dental staff understand the Infection Prevention and Control Protocols (IPAC) required of them, and that they are followed correctly. This will ensure that your staff and patients are protected from any possible transmission of infection.

When presenting our IPAC training to dental offices, the protocol surrounding nail hygiene is very much a topic of interest.

Check out this lawsuit that motivated me to create this blog: Read Now

Some people are very passionate about the look and style of their nails, but unfortunately being in a clinical health care setting , the protocols do not allow for this type of expression.

Artificial nails and nail enhancements are not to be worn by those having direct contact with a client/patient. (“CDHO guidelines 2019”, “RCDSO standards of practice 2018”)

What is a nail enhancement?

A nail enhancement is any material that can add length or strength to the natural nail.

Shellac is a blend of gel and nail polish. Because it is like a polish, it cannot be used to extend your nail. Because it is like a gel, however, it does add strength and durability. Therefore , Shellac is also considered a nail enhancement.

DHCW’s nail length should be short enough to allow thorough cleaning underneath the nails and prevent glove tears. Nails should be no longer than 2mm in length beyond the fingertip.

Acrylic nails can harbour microorganisms and are more difficult to clean than natural nails. (“ROUTINE PRACTICES”) Artificial nails and nail enhancements (including nail art) are also associated with compromised hand hygiene practices and can result in tears to gloves.

Gel polish has been shown to damage nails, resulting in nail weakness, brittleness, and thinning, putting nails at increased risk for breaking.

The bonded seal of the nail enhancement or polish can break without notice, therefore, creating a space where microorganisms can collect, and thus hindering the effectiveness of hand hygiene. This creates a risk factor to the DHCW and/or the patient.

Chipped nail polish or nail polish worn longer than four days can harbour microorganisms that are not removed by hand washing. It is exceedingly difficult for an office to monitor this protocol of wearing nail polish. The office would need to set up a system to monitor daily for chipped polish, and that the polish has been refreshed every 4 days. This would prove to be very time consuming.

Best practice would be to have a policy stating; no nail enhancements or polish allowed for clinical staff.

Dental staff know from their clinical IPAC training, that wearing artificial nails or polish can have a direct effect on the health and safety of themselves and their patients.

We all need to do our part to prevent the transmission of infection in the dental practice setting.


SQ Dental Services can help to educate your staff on the required protocols that are to be followed by clinical and administrative staff on IPAC and Health & Safety.

Controlling the spread of infections is, undoubtedly, crucial and must be enforced by management and healthcare personnel, however, without the support and cooperation of patients and visitors, it can become very difficult to ensure a safe environment which is why we must all do our part in keeping our community safe.

Do not wait any longer. Book your office compliance training with SQ Dental TODAY!



61 views0 comments


bottom of page