Effective and efficient infection control in the dental office is essential for the safety of patients and to ensure that productivity does not suffer. Infection control programs include the cleaning and sterilization of reusable dental instruments and devices. Care must be taken by the dental healthcare professional to ensure that all instruments are cleaned prior to sterilization, and that this is carried out in a safe way to avoid injury and puncture wounds. Use of closed-system cassettes reduces the risk to dental healthcare professionals when executing infection control programs. When using ultrasonic cleaners, washers and sterilizers, it is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It is also important to consult with the manufacturer of dental instruments and devices as needed to ensure complete sterilization and to avoid damage to these items. Assurance of sterility of instruments and devices can be obtained through the use of one of several tests, and these tests must be performed regularly to ensure that the sterilizer is sterilizing all instruments and devices and that these are safe for use on patients.
The sanitation of the instruments
It is a process that requires a lot of attention in a dental practice. Making tools hygienic and sterile means respecting strict European protocols, offering to the patient the highest level of safety. Sanitation must be carried out accurately and includes these three main steps:
During the decontamination process the instruments are immersed in a disinfecting chemical agent, for a variable time that generally corresponds to 30 minutes. They are then decontaminated also externally, thanks to a 60% alcohol solution. Cleaning the instruments means washing the instruments with a specific detergent. After manual washing, an ultrasonic cleaning is carried out using special tools and machinery. During the sterilization process, the most important phase, all the instruments are treated with great precision, even in the most hidden interspaces.
Sterilization is generally carried out in an autoclave and water vapor, saturated and under pressure, is the most commonly used sterilization method as it is the fastest, cheapest and without any toxicity.
Sterilization – Single-use instruments
Single-use instruments – such as needles, syringes, scalpels, abrasive strips, gloves, masks – are used only once and thrown away after each use, to avoid any contact with bacteria and viruses.
Hygiene and safety are indispensable. Additional safety measures are important, such as washing hands, wearing gloves and masks. Our team is vaccinated against hepatitis B, all the tools and machinery we use in daily basis is cleaned properly and according to regulations.