I have been going to UTHSC for my dental care for a while now and I wanted to share this information my student doctor at UTHSC gave me about sterilization of dental tools.
In the dental practice, the prevention of disease transmission is a critical concern. This can be carried out by following certain aseptic techniques; by sanitation and sterilization. Checking for potential contamination is among the first things one should do at the start of the day. It is essential for the practitioner to arrive early to the clinic in order to set up his practice against possible disease transmission. Treatment room barriers should be placed around the surfaces that contact the patient and operator, such as the operating chair, the overhead light, and the suction tips. Operators should also cover themselves with proper clinical attire, including a mask, coat, and gloves.
It is important to understand when it is appropriate to either disinfect or sterilize. Anything that penetrates soft tissue or bone is considered critical, and must be sterilized. Typically, this is accomplished in the practice by a steam autoclave set at 250o F for twenty to thirty minutes. A “flash cycle” can also be used, at which the autoclave is set at 273o F for three to ten minutes.
Semi-critical surfaces are those which contact the intact mucosa while noncritical surfaces contact intact skin. Both should be disinfected. The disinfectants used should be “hospital level,” meaning that they inactivate the polio 2 virus and tuberculosis.
Being cautious and mindful of possible contaminants should be second nature to the dental professional. The standard of care which utilizes appropriate aseptic techniques protects both the patient and the practitioner and should never be compromised.
For more information on the UTHSC school visit here.