There have been numerous press articles about the potential for disease transmission through dental offices. Some of these claims have been exaggerated for the purpose of selling news broadcasts and newspapers. At the same time, it can not be understated that there is potential for serious problems arising from improper and/or inadequate sterilization procedures in a dental or medical office.
Some the the things that we do in our office and feel should be standard for others are:
- Autoclave (high pressure, high temperature, steam sterilizer) is tested monthly to ensure proper temperatures and pressures are being achieved to kill all bacterial and viruses.
- Dental handpieces (drills) are individually bagged and autoclaved after EACH single use.
- Impression trays are individually wrapped and autoclaved.
- All dental instruments are autoclaved.
- Plastic wrap over as much of the peripheral equipment (i.e. water/air syringes, light handles, x-ray tubes, etc) as possible.
- Equipment (such as operatory lights) that do not have on/off switches to touch and contaminate. They turn on/off by touching the wrapped handles).
- Plastic over dental chair. Changed after each appointment.
- "Closed water system" to each operatory.
Biofilm (growing bacteria) in the small plastic water lines in dental offices is true hazard. This system consists of a plastic bottle that we fill with purified water and this in turn comes out of the water syringes and handpieces. Once each week a strong disinfectant is run through the lines to clean them absolutely free of contaminants.