Dental Instrument Sterilization – A Q&A with Dr. Jackson
The importance of dental instrument sterilization cannot be downplayed. Every day, thousands of people sit in dental chairs all over the country and receive oral care with mirrors, probes, dental burs, and other equipment. The risk of transmitting disease from one patient to another can be high if the proper steps are not taken. Equipment cannot just look clean, it has to be completely sterile. Let’s hear how Murfreesboro Family Dentistry handles the sterilization procedures from Dr. Jackson herself.
How are the instruments sterilized at this office?
We go through a process where we put them through an ultrasonic cleaner that removes any debris off of the instruments. And then, we dry the instruments to make sure that they are ready to go into our autoclave. The autoclave, uses steam and pressure to destroy any type of bugs or microbes, such as bacteria and viruses. The instruments are fully clean so that yours are you don’t share microbes with somebody before you.
The way that you sterilize at Murfreesboro Family Dentistry is different from a lot of other offices. Can you explain that a little bit?
We do have a dental instrument sterilization area that’s highly unique. We make sure that all dirty instruments stay in one area and all clean instruments stay in another. That sounds fairly simple, but it can be very complicated when you have a large flow of instruments.
The other piece that we do here, which I mentioned briefly, is we use the dryer to remove all the water from the instruments before we put them in the steam autoclave. That might sound like an unnecessary extra step, but if there’s too much water with the steam autoclave, it can prevent the destruction of certain types of germs.
There has been a lot of research indicating one of the reasons for the spread of hepatitis C in the baby boomer generation was ineffective dental instrument sterilization procedures. We want to make sure that we don’t contribute to that in any way. We added drying the instruments before sterilization which is different from many other dental offices.
A lot of your appliances, they’re touch-less, right?
Yes. We want to make sure that we don’t spread germs from one set of instruments to another, but also from one machine to another. It’s critically important, to stop the spread of bacteria, viruses, and germs from several angles. All of our cleaning areas are touch-free, so that we’re not touching the machines and cross contaminating.