sunshine dental instruments must be cleaned, sterilized and properly stored in a designated area to eliminate the spread of bacteria or other contaminants. This includes any instruments that have been exposed outside of the designated sterile environment, whether used or unused. The Center for Disease Control classifies dental instruments in three categories: critical, semi-critical and non-critical. The critical and semi-critical tools that penetrate bone and tissue, or touch mucous membranes must be sterilized using heat. The non-critical tools that contact intact skin may be cleaned using a low-level or intermediate-level disinfectant.
Remove any excess debris from the instruments and dispose of it in a hazardous waste container. Soak the instruments in soap and water immediately after use. Because you may use a variety of instruments for one treatment, this serves as the precursor to the disinfecting and cleaning process.
Clean the instruments manually or with automated equipment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using an automated method, such as an ultrasonic cleaner, because these provide greater efficiency and safety. If you choose to manually clean the tools, use disinfectant or an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymatic cleaners are preferred as they remove blood and viral material. Wear eye protection and a face mask at all times to shield from splashing.
Dry and package any non-critical instruments that do not require further sterilization.
Sterilize the remaining semi-critical and critical instrumentation to remove any remaining germs, viruses or other contaminants. The American Dental Association recommends the use of autoclaving, dry heat or chemical vapor methods. Because each method varies in temperature and drying times, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the sterilization equipment. Apply an anti-rust solution before sterilizing the instruments. This helps to reduce corrosion that can occur during sterilization, extending the life of your instruments.
Inspect the instruments after cleaning, noting any rust, damage or pitting. Instruments should be repaired or disposed of if flaws exist, because of the danger to the patient as well as to the dental office, according to the Infection Control Services Ltd..
Store cleaned and sterilized instruments in their designated containers.