Any dental clinic that’s properly concerned with the health and safety of its patients has strict sterilization procedures. You might be wondering how we sterilize our own instruments and how we can maintain a safe and clean environment for you and everyone who comes in to get their teeth taken care of. There are, in fact, multiple kinds of sterilization in dentistry and other ways in which we can keep you safe from bacteria.
Sterilization of Dental Instruments
How Do We Do It?
Firstly, we always make sure to protect ourselves by wearing PPE, or personal protective equipment. This technical term refers to the standard gear you’ve probably seen dentists and assistants wearing every time you stopped by our office: masks, gloves, and even safety eyewear all apply under this umbrella.
This gear is critically important since it can help protect us from microbial contamination and prevent us from spreading our own skin bacteria around onto our instruments. More importantly, we make sure that all of our gear is durable enough to withstand some punishment before it breaks. Our gloves wouldn’t be very protective if they tore too easily, right?
We also take good care of our dental instruments, starting by presoaking them before we even think about using them. This ensures that we keep our instruments clean over the long-term and makes it so that we don’t have to scramble when several patients need a few extra instruments.
This also protects you, since you won’t have to worry about bacteria or other biological debris hardening on the surface of the tools we’ll use to take care of you. We usually pre-soak our instruments in sanitizing solution or use a spray gel to keep organic components from hardening.
While you’ve probably seen us use a machine called an “autoclave” to sterilize our instruments, we actually clean them beforehand. We remove any surface debris we can see that might not be eliminated by the autoclave. We can do this in a couple of different ways:
- ultrasonic cleaning is one solution
- we also have automated instrument washers
- if all else fails, we’ll manually scrub our instruments to get rid of any remaining debris
We put all of the instruments we use for your procedures or cleanings in an autoclave. This machine uses superheated steam to get rid of any remaining foreign bacteria. We also like this dental sterilization machine because it doesn’t make all of our tools too moist for use.
All our instruments need to be properly packaged before they go into the sterilizer. Wraps, pouches, and other tear-able containers are used because we can seal these and prevent them from being exposed to the open air. Some autoclaves even come with packaging wraps. Ever wonder why we always unwrap or seem to open new tools whenever you stop by? This is why.
Lastly, we sometimes load tools into other dedicated sterilizing equipment or machines besides our autoclave. Following all of the above steps, you can guarantee that our tools will be clean and safe to use every time you come to visit. Our procedures ensure that any bacteria, either ours or yours, never makes it far from the chair. Keeping a healthy dental office is our top priority.
Have any questions about the sterilization process? We’d be happy to tell you more, especially on your next visit when we can show you some of our individually wrapped tools. Feel free to give us a call and make an appointment; we’re already looking forward to your next visit!