When visiting a dental office, it is essential to ensure that you receive the highest care standard. One aspect of this care is sterilisation, which is essential to any dental visit. Sterilisation ensures that all instruments and equipment used during a procedure are clean and free from bacteria and viruses. By understanding the importance of dental sterilisation, you can feel confident when visiting your dentist for any treatment or procedure

Before undergoing any kind of surgery, it is essential to ensure that the surgeon and his or her team take all necessary precautions to ensure that the instruments being used are properly sterilised and free from contaminants. This process is critical in preventing post-surgical infections, which can lead to serious complications and even death in some cases. Let’s take a closer look at why sterilisation is so important and how it works.



What Is Sterilisation?

Sterilisation is a process that removes or destroys all forms of microbial life, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores. In terms of surgical instruments, this means that they must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before use to prevent post-surgical infection. This process helps reduce the risk of contamination by eliminating any potential for microorganisms to survive on the instruments being used during surgery.

Types Of Sterilisation

There are several types of sterilisation methods available for surgical instruments. These include steam autoclaving, dry heat ovens, chemical vapour deposition (CVD), electron beam (EB) radiation sterilisation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation sterilisation, and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma (HPGP). Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages; however, steam autoclaving remains the most common method due to its effectiveness at killing microorganisms while minimising damage to delicate instruments.

How Dental Sterilisation Works

Dental sterilisation works by using high temperatures as well as chemical disinfectants to kill any microorganisms on the surfaces of instruments and equipment. But before this procedure, instruments need to be cleaned, rinsed, inspected, and packed. After finishing these processes, that’s only when sterilisation takes place. This process can take up to two hours, depending on the type of instrument being sterilised and the cleaning solution being used. Before each use, instruments must be checked for any visible dirt or debris and must be cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner before undergoing autoclaving or heat sterilising. Autoclaving uses steam under pressure to eliminate all microorganisms, while heat sterilising uses heated air to reach a temperature high enough to kill bacteria and viruses.


Using Ultrasonic Cleaner

ultrasonic cleaner for sterilisationRemove gross soil before using

• Use an enzymatic cleaning solution

• Use treated water when needed

• Change solution at least once daily

• Must use the lid

• Don’t overload

• Periodically perform ‘foil test’

Using Instrument Washer

• Increase productivity

• Improve cleaning effectiveness

• Decrease personnel sharps risk

• Accommodate more instruments than ultrasonic units

• Use automated washing cycles

• Eliminate the need for manual presoaking, hand scrubbing, rinsing, and drying

• Some have high temp cycle = thermal disinfection


After cleaning, thoroughly rinse instruments with tap water and ensure all debris and detergent residue is removed. If the tap water is of poor quality, consider using treated water as a final rinse to avoid instrument staining.


Each instrument should be critically inspected after each cleaning for residual debris or damage. Replace instruments as needed and never sterilise a “dirty” instrument.

In addition, check each instrument for proper function and lubricate it as required by the instrument manufacturer. Hinged instruments with stiff joints may be a sign of inadequate cleaning.


packaging for autoclavingInstrument packaging should be done in a clean and low contamination area, using FDA-approved products:

• Sterilisation pouch

• Sterilisation wrap

• Sterilisation container

Sterilisation pouches are used to pack loose instruments and small, lightweight items. Paper/plastic pouches allow you to see the contents and come with a built-in adhesive strip for seal sealing. It is important to remove all excess air before sealing the sterilisation pouch.

For quality assurance, be sure to include a chemical indicator inside each pouch. Per CDC guidelines, this will verify sterilisation parameters were met inside as well as outside the pouch (time, temperature, and sterilant contact).

Special Note:

Some new technology pouches come printed with external and internal chemical indicators. If the internal indicator is a multi-parameter chemical indicator, there is no need to add a separate indicator strip inside.

Package Wrapping

To assist sterilisation and aid drying, place pouches facing each other and on the edge using a divider. Sterilisation wrap is ideal for packaging surgical kits. For sterility maintenance, be sure to use two layers of wrap per industry standards and the wrap MFR’s FDA clearance.

For quality assurance, include a chemical indicator inside to verify the sterilant reached the inside of the package. Wrap in a way that allow sterile presentation and aseptic delivery of the surgical pack or kit. Sterilisation indicator tape should be used to secure the wrapper.

Special Note:

Most steam indicator tapes contain latex in the adhesive and lead in the colour-change ink. Latex and lead-free indicator tape are commercially available.

Importance Of Sterilisation

The importance of proper sterilisation procedures cannot be overstated. Post-surgical infections can have serious consequences if left untreated; therefore, surgeons must take all necessary steps to ensure that their patients are protected from possible harm.

correct packaging for sterilisationThe sterilisation process of instruments helps to protect both patients and dentists from infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, staphylococcus aureus (staph), tuberculosis (TB), influenza, mumps, rubella, herpes simplex virus (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), etc. By frequently changing gloves between patients and properly cleaning all instruments after use, dentists can significantly reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases from one patient to another. Additionally, regular cleansing and sterilising prevent cross-contamination between patients’ mouths which may lead to bleeding gums or other oral infections caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth.

By following proper instrument cleaning and disinfection protocols before each procedure, surgeons can help reduce the risk of post-surgical infection. Furthermore, proper instrument maintenance can help extend the lifespan of these tools by reducing wear caused by exposure to harsh chemicals or other environmental factors.


Properly sterilising surgical instruments is an integral part of patient care during surgery as it helps minimise risks associated with postoperative infections significantly. There are several different methods available for instrument sterilisations, but steam autoclaving remains the most popular due to its effectiveness at killing microbes without causing damage to delicate tools. Understanding the importance of this procedure before undergoing any kind of surgery is essential for ensuring safe patient outcomes.

To ensure your safety when visiting a dentist for any kind of treatment or procedure, it is important to ensure that the clinic adheres strictly to stringent standards regarding dental sterilisation protocols. By understanding the importance of dental sterilisation and asking questions about cleaning procedures before receiving treatment, you can be sure that you are receiving safe care at all times! Parents must, most especially, understand these processes so they can rest assured their children are getting proper attention when going into a dentist’s office for checkups or other treatments. With proper knowledge about dental hygiene practices and procedures comes peace of mind!






Schedule A Call Today

Schedule A Call Today