The dental autoclave remains one of the most used equipment in the dental practice. However, there are still newbies or dental trainees and staff that need some assistance in using it. These machines like the MELAG Autoclave may have the same general procedures on how they work, but we still recommend everyone to rely on their specific equipment’s instruction manual. Not all autoclaves are the same, and each manufacturer should give you tips on how to use an autoclave to get its optimum use and efficacy.
How To Use An Autoclave
The preparation of the instruments
- Wear the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) before starting your autoclave procedure. Wear gloves, masks, goggles, and a lab coat if necessary.
- Ensure that all the instruments that you will put inside the autoclave or sterilizer are safe to withstand high heat and steam pressure.
- Before putting all the dental instruments and tools that need to be autoclaved, make sure that they are cleaned individually. You may use soap and warm water to remove oral tissues or fluids from the surface and crevices of the instruments, as well as a sterilizing chemical to ensure that it is free of any debris or tissue matter that may contain microorganisms that spread disease.
- Dry the instruments and place them on autoclave-compatible packaging or bags, and include tape indicators inside or outside the packs. This will determine if the instruments are fully sterilized or not.
Loading the instruments
Make sure that the autoclave is working properly and there is enough water in the valve for it to produce heat and steam.
- Segregate instruments and tools depending on their product material.
- Do not overload the autoclave so that there will be sufficient space for the steam, heat, and pressure to flow through each packaging and instrument.
- Close the door firmly and set the appropriate autoclaving time, depending on the instruments to be sterilized.
- Once the cycle is done, do not try opening the autoclave door at once; wait until the pressure comes back to zero, as indicated by the pressure valve.
Unloading the instruments
- Still clad in your PPE, remove the packaging one at a time from the chamber. Use heat-resistant gloves because the instruments may still be hot from the high temp of steam and air used to sterilise them.
- Document your autoclave cycle including the time and number of instruments you sterilised so everyone in your workplace will be aware of which instruments were sterilised and which are otherwise.
We want to reiterate that there are many different kinds of autoclaves, and most manufacturers would require special instructions on how to use their equipment. Rely on their provided manuals, or consult our experts at MELAG Autoclave by calling (02) 8880 7813 so we can address your concerns about the autoclave process.