Management of Dental Waste by Practitioners in Nairobi, Kenya

Osamong LA, Gathece LW, Kisumbi BK1, Mutave RJ1
Department of Periodontology, Community and Preventive Dentistry and
Department of conservative and prosthetic dentistry.
Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Nairobi .P.O Box 19676 00202 Nairobi, Kenya


Objective: Dental wastes are material that has been utilized in dental clinics, which are no longer wanted for use and therefore discarded. Improper disposal of these dental wastes can cause harm to the dentist, the people in immediate vicinity of the dentist, waste handlers and general public and the environment through production of toxins or as by products of the destruction process. This study aims to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practice on management of dental wastes among dental practitioners in Nairobi, Kenya. Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional study of 70 dental practitioners practicing in Nairobi, Kenya.

A total of 50 dental practitioners were included in the study. Majority had graduated between 1991-1995. 47.5% had only a bachelors degree, 25% had masters 7.5% had PhD and 12.5% had postgraduate diploma. Forty five percent of the respondents indicated they have attended training on management of dental waste while 89.5% had been attending continuous dental education. Forty-two percent of the respondents worked in public institution while the rest were in private practice. Only 48.7% of the practitioners were aware of the existence of waste management guidelines. Only 64% felt it was important to follow the set guidelines, 5% thought it was tedious, 2% said they were not practical and the rest were not interested in the guidelines. Eighty-two percent of the respondents said that amalgam was toxic if disposed improperly with only 10.7% indicating pollution to be a consequence of improper disposal of amalgam. Seventyseven percent of the respondents did not know the hazardous effects of improper disposal of amalgam. Only half of the respondents stored waste amalgam under water, 25% said they did not know how to dispose amalgam. All (100%) knew about occurrence of cross-infection with improper disposal of bloody waste but only 56.1% said they incinerated bloody body waste while 24.4% disposed off bloody waste with general waste 35.7% of the respondents indicated that sharps were hazardous if improperly disposed. Only 52.4% incinerated their pathological wasted. On expired drugs, 7.3% disposed them off as part of general wastes.


There is need for continuous professional development on waste management among dentists in Kenya.

Key words: Access, Oral health, HIV, Physician, Dental waste.

Read or Download article

Osamong L A.

Faculty of Dental Sciences,
University of Nairobi. P.O Box 19676 00202
Nairobi, Kenya