An autoclave is a dental practice’s most important pieces of equipment. As a steriliser in a profession that depends on hygiene procedures, it’s critical to dental safety. However, there are many types of autoclaves. What makes certain types of autoclave better than others? How do you choose an autoclave that is right for your dental practice?
What is an autoclave?
Before we get into all the different types of autoclaves, it’s essential to know what an autoclave is.
A medical autoclave is a pressure chamber that uses pressurised, saturated steam to sterilise different medical and dental equipment items. This is a very quick and highly effective way to sterilise equipment. The level of sterility achieved by hot, dry air at 160 degrees Celsius after two hours, can be matched by steam at 134 degrees Celsius in three minutes.
How do autoclaves work?
Autoclaves remove all air from inside the pressure chamber before they begin the sterilisation process. Autoclaves remove this air one of the following ways, depending on type:
- Vacuum pump
- The pump sucks air from the chamber
- Downward displacement
- In this method, downward displacement types of autoclaves use gravity to remove dry air. Steam enters the pressure chamber from the top, which forces the heavier dry air to the bottom of the chamber, where it is forced to exit the pressure chamber, typically via a valve or drain.
- Steam pulsing
- This method uses pulses of steam to change the air quality in the chamber while the chamber is simultaneously pressurised and depressurised.
- A combination method
- There are a number of other types of autoclaves that combine one or more of the above methods to steam-fill the chamber and remove dry air.
Avoid potential problems by choosing an autoclave that’s right for you
If maintenance errors occur, sterilisation levels are affected. When choosing a type of autoclave, choose one that fits your dental practice’s needs and helps avoid the following pitfalls.
- Inadequate temperature, time, or pressure
- Be sure to choose an autoclave that suits your practice’s daily workload and supplies adequate power.
- Overloading the steriliser
- Select an autoclave that is large enough to accommodate your practice’s needs.
- Inadequate spacing of handpieces or instruments in the cleaning section
- Choose an autoclave whose cleaning section is easy to use and that helps hold all implements in the appropriate position.
- Improper autoclave operation
- Train all staff who will be using the autoclave in its operation. Additionally, choose an autoclave that’s easy to operate.
- Improper packaging
- Follow guidelines that pertain to how handpieces and other equipment items are to be wrapped (if at all) before cleaning.
- Faulty seals or gaskets
- Purchase a quality, low-maintenance autoclave—dental practices are busy places—and perform maintenance whenever it is required.
Think about your specific dental practice and ask yourself what errors will most likely be more common than others and, from there, consider different autoclave models.
Class S Euroklav Autoclaves
Class S Euroklav autoclaves can accommodate larger loads and bigger instruments without compromising on performance. With effective air-cooling systems and integrated water storage, these autoclaves can be operated without a water hook-up, though they also have a feature which enables them to connect to a demineralised water treatment unit.
These autoclaves are large, relatively affordable, and can be used in a variety of dental practice environments, rendering them remarkably flexible and functional.
Premium-Class B Autoclave Steriliser
This autoclave type can also be operated with a water connection or as a standalone unit and features incredibly short sterilisation times. Often referred to as the ideal dental autoclave, this model is especially effective at speedily drying dental tools. With a variety of sizes and models, high loading capacity, efficient storage, and water connection options, there is something here for nearly any practice. Some specific models include:
- Vacuklav 41 B+ Evolution
- Known for its record-breaking operating times and its options for wrapped and unwrapped instruments. It’s a standalone unit that does not require a water connection.
- Vacuklav 43 B+ Evolution
- This is a larger model, but it can adjust to partial loads and not waste water or other resources. This renders it highly adaptable to different workloads. This is also a standalone unit that does not require a water connection.
- Vacuklav 40 & 44 B+ Evolution
- Both these models are similar to the 41 B+ and the 43 B+, respectively, but require a water connection.
Find the autoclave that’s right for you
If you have any questions or are considering purchasing an autoclave, contact Critical Dental on (02) 8880 7813.