If you’ve ever had a dental procedure, you may have noticed that your dentist used sterile dental instruments. You might be wondering why this is so important in dental medicine. This blog post will discuss the importance of using sterile dental instruments and why it matters to patients and dentists.
You may have heard it time and again — sterilisation of dental tools and equipment helps dental practices ensure that their patients and staff remain safe. Sterilisation prevents the growth of bacteria on the instruments we use and on several surfaces throughout their practice. Dental sterilisation practices ensure that the germs in your mouth don’t make their way into anyone else’s mouth and that germs from the patient before you don’t get on you.
Contamination of Dental Instruments
An ideal dental practice relies on dental instruments to perform various tasks, from drilling and scaling teeth to root canal treatments. Their equipment and critical instruments are frequently exposed to saliva while conducting tests or other procedures on patients. Bleeding is also a typical occurrence during dental treatments. The dental instruments come into touch with blood whenever there’s bleeding.
Blood or saliva may carry germs and infections, such as hepatitis B, staph infection, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), tuberculosis, and strep. Illnesses may be transmitted via unsterilised or inadequately sterilised equipment and tools that penetrate soft tissue of one patient to the next, as well as from patients to healthcare personnel who handle these unclean or improperly sterilised instruments. For example, germs, viruses, and diseases can linger on surfaces for hours or days. Patients and workers risk acquiring illnesses by merely handling an exposed surface.
The infections caused by substandard sterilisation methods might result in sickness, which can be serious or induce complications, particularly if you have any preexisting illnesses. Breaches in disease control, equipment sterilisation, and cleaning processes can allow harmful bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Clostridium sordellii, and salmonella to remain on the surface of the tools. Improper sterilisation can also allow the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other infectious diseases. These infections and conditions can cause severe illness and require further medical attention. It is critical, then, that these instruments be sterile to prevent any of these from happening.
How to Sterilise Dental Instruments?
Every member in the dental industry performs several daily tasks, but one of the most essential jobs is infection control by battling bacteria and other germs. We all follow several best practices and processes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to clean and sterilise our equipment. These best practices include wearing gloves and masks as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE) while handling potentially contaminated equipment and using special containers to transport it through our clinic.
Dentists use disposable, single-use tools and supplies as needed. These single-use dental tools and supplies include the suction tips they use to remove water from your mouth, polishing cups, cotton rolls, plastic coverings and barriers, gloves, syringe needles, patient napkins, anaesthetic cartridges, and more. They safely dispose of these items according to recommended guidelines after each appointment.
Instrument Sterilisation Process
Dental professionals clean and sterilise any items that are not single-use. These items would include metal instruments, mouth mirrors, and forceps, among others. A dentist or a dental assistant use high-end dental sterilisation technology that makes the process extremely efficient.
Initially, they put their contaminated instruments into dental equipment called an ultrasonic cleaner. It uses a disinfecting solution to remove saliva, blood, or germs before disinfection or sterilisation. This cleaner works somewhat like a dishwasher to blast debris from the surface of the equipment.
Next is steam sterilisation. After rinsing the tools thoroughly, they place the tools and other critical and semi-critical instruments in an autoclave that uses high heat, steam, and pressure to sterilise them. The autoclave brings its chemical vapour and steamy interior to a high temperature and pressure and holds them constant for a predetermined time. This action kills bacteria and viruses on the surfaces of anything inside the autoclave. Autoclaves also perform a vacuum that allows water vapour to penetrate difficult-to-access surfaces of the equipment.
Most dental practices strictly adhere to stringent guidelines that require all dental offices to regularly test their autoclaves to ensure that they work properly to kill all viruses and bacteria that could pass from one patient to another. Infection control is a critical component of patient care and of utmost importance to every dental industry member. Let Melag Autoclave help you make every effort possible to lower the risk of infection by providing you with top-of-the-line equipment for sanitising your instruments and cleaning our dental office spaces.
Sterilisation is essential in dentistry because it is effective at preventing the spread of everything from the common to COVID-19. It is knowing where to get the best dental sterilisers that matter. Melag Autoclave is one of Melag’s most trusted suppliers. Call us today on (02) 8880 7813 if you need a premium quality autoclave at a very good price. You can also browse our online shop to find a medical autoclave for sale.