Sterilization Protocol

At our dental practice, we take the health and safety of our clients very seriously. During these difficult times, we understand that many of our patients may be wondering about the techniques employed to ensure sterilization in a dental office.

There are many procedures we follow to disinfect surfaces and tools, as well as strict maintenance policies we employ to ensure our sterilization testing methods are sound. We base these sterilization and maintenance processes on guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA).

Please read on to learn more about our dental sterilization routines.

How do you go about cleaning dental instruments and surfaces?

We have a strict routine in place when it comes to cleaning our dental tools and surfaces. Our processes have been informed by the CDC and are as follows:

  • Critical instruments, such as scalpel blades, scalers, and forceps, penetrate soft tissue and/or bone and must be discarded or sterilized after every use.
  • Semi-critical instruments, including dental impression trays, air-water hoses, and mouth mirrors, come into contact with bodily fluids and are cleaned and disinfected with a high-level sanitizer between uses.
  • Uncovered clinical contact surfaces are classified as non-critical and must be barrier protected or disinfected between patients. Examples of such surfaces include tabletops, chairs, and counters.
  • Barrier protectors that cover clinical contact surfaces during patient treatment must be changed out when soiled or as often as deemed appropriate.
  • Our dental professionals wash and disinfect their hands between patients and as often as needed. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, like masks and smocks, are always used and regularly discarded.

These straightforward procedures help us ensure that every tool, all equipment, and each surface that is utilized while we provide patient care is sterilized after the care is given.

We use dental autoclave sterilizers for our tools and equipment, and hospital-grade, EPA-registered disinfectants to sterilize contact surfaces. Personal protective equipment used as barrier coverings is discarded after each use.

Next, we will discuss how we maintain our sterilization standards.

What are some ways you maintain infection control in dentistry?

Along with sterilizing our tools, equipment, and surfaces, we must maintain our sterilization equipment. We do so by following the steps provided by the ADA.

To ensure our sterilization machinery is functioning well, we use the following indicators:

  • Mechanical : mechanical indicators include those provided by the gauges on our sterilization machines. We use these to note the recycle time, pressure, and temperature of each load of tools and equipment.
  • Chemical : chemical indicators include indicator tapes which are specific to each sterilizing device. Tapes change color after they have been exposed to the proper sterilization environment.
  • Biological : biological indicators consist of spore tests that are monitored in-house or mailed-in to a third-party laboratory. A positive spore test lets us know that the sterilization process has failed.

All three of these indicators work in harmony and alert us to a failure in our sterilization process. If a failure is indicated, we immediately remove the piece of equipment in question and do not use it again until a reason for the failure is detected and corrected.

In closing

Our day to day cleaning and sterilization processes are taken seriously, as is our monitoring system. Through these, we ensure we are providing our patients, coworkers, and community at large with a clean and healthy environment.

We hope that after reading this, you understand sterilization of instruments in dentistry and our infection control in dental clinic monitoring procedures and you continue to rely on us for your dental work and that we see you soon.

About Us

Superior dental care for the whole community in Bellefontaine, Ohio! Feel confident coming to Logan Dental Care where most of our dental hygienists have over 30 years of experience.