Autoclaving is a vital operation in the dental field that assists with creating and sustaining a secure, sterile atmosphere for practitioners and patients alike. This method utilizes high-temperature steam to annihilate any potential contaminants, uphold excellent patient care standards, and minimize the danger of cross-contamination or infection. In this blog post, we’ll explain what autoclaving is about, why it’s so important for dentists to utilize this process regularly, as well as how the process of autoclaving works.



What Is Autoclaving?

Autoclaving is an essential component of a dental practice, providing a safe and sterile atmosphere for practitioners and patients alike. This process utilizes high-temperature steam to eradicate potential contaminants, making it the most trusted form of sterilisation used in many healthcare-related areas, eliminating any risks associated with cross-contamination or infection. Autoclaves are essential instruments designed for medical purposes; however, they can also be incredibly helpful in sterilising dental equipment before use. This abolishes the need to boil or chemically disinfect them – a time-consuming process – and gives practitioners more freedom to attend to their necessary tasks during the day.

Why Is Autoclaving Important?

process of autoclaving dentistsAutoclaving is an important step in preventing the spread of infectious diseases from one patient to another within the dental setting. It ensures that all instruments used in the patient treatment are free from contamination before any contact with another individual takes place. This method of sterilisation has been proven effective against bacteria, fungi, spores, and viruses, which could otherwise be transmitted if not destroyed during this process. It is also critical to adhere to certain standards regarding patient safety set out by state boards or organisations, such as The Joint Commission On Accreditation Of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Setting up an autoclave sterilisation system

There are many parts of an autoclave system. The system consists of the autoclave the items are placed in, called the “chamber.” Most chambers are cylindrical because this shape is more cost-effective when working with high pressures inside an autoclave. Once the items to be sterilised are inside the chamber, it’s locked. The autoclave system also has a vacuum pump and a safety valve that helps to regulate the temperature and pressure of the steam being used to prevent overheating. Because of the high temperatures and pressure being used within the autoclave system, it’s an effective way to sterilise all of the objects and materials inside.

How Does Autoclaving Work?

Now that you know the working parts, it’s important to understand the actual process and how it all comes together actually to sterilise.

Here are the autoclave sterilisation steps:

  1. process of autoclaving dental clinicPut everything that needs to be sterilised inside the chamber and lock it.
  2. A vacuum pump sucks the air out of the chamber. The steam entering the chamber – and the pressure it creates – also work to remove the air.
  3. The autoclave sterilisation temperature is crucial. Make sure it has enough time to heat up.
  4. The steam continuously covers whatever is in the autoclave, effectively killing bacteria and microbes.
  5. At the designated time, the steam is released, and the chamber can be opened. The freshly-sterilised materials can be removed, and they’re ready for use or disposal.

In order for an autoclave to work properly, several components must be present, including adequate air circulation, water supply, pressure build-up and heat generation through either electricity or steam generated internally.

The most common type of autoclave used in dentistry involves a natural pressure cycle. The steam is produced through indirect heating using electric or gas-fired boilers, which raise water temperatures to over 212°F. This results in dry saturated steam being circulated throughout a chamber containing wrapped dental tools/instruments placed inside metal trays or baskets free from oxygen.

Autoclaves create vacuum conditions before beginning the cycle with rapid evacuation and then preheating before introducing saturated steam for decontamination purposes. After the pressure has decreased, cooled condensed steam is used to transfer energy into liquids via convection currents created by liquid expansion and contraction. As temperatures continue to rise, vaporisation begins again until all phases of decontamination have been completed successfully. At this point, your items will be unloaded and ready for their next patient encounter!

The dangers of buying a used autoclave for sterilisation

A used autoclave may have an attractive price tag, but there are several reasons why it’s not the smartest way to go.

Because they have to abide by federal, state, and/or local jurisdictional laws, buying used makes it difficult to truly know that you’re getting an autoclave that meets all of the laws and regulatory requirements.

If you end up with a vessel you can’t use in your state because it doesn’t meet the requirements, you’re out a lot of money, and you won’t be able to sterilise anything.

Let’s take a closer look at the downside of used autoclaves for sterilisation:

  • process dental autoclavingIt may not satisfy all state or insurance company regulations.
  • It may meet requirements, but the nameplate or manufacturer’s data report is missing, so it can’t be verified.
  • It may not meet the correct pressure allowance, which means it may take more time to sterilise, or it may not adequately sterilise at all.
  • It may not be rated properly to be used under a vacuum.
  • Useful life is minimal because all the original corrosion allowance has eroded.

Since sterilisation is important in any health facility, having an autoclave is a piece of the necessary equipment in your office or practice. An autoclave allows you to sterilise large quantities of instruments and textiles simultaneously, so you will always have the right tool for the job. For any inquiries about selecting the right dental autoclave for your office, do not hesitate to call and visit Melag Autoclave so we can help you make the right choice.


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