Many people would hope that their dental office complies with proper Center of Disease and Control, also known as the CDC, sterilization techniques. However, it may be shocking to know that most dental sterilizers may not be as sterile as you think. What is sterilization? Sterilization is the act of completely eliminating any and all microscopic organisms that normally thrive in an environment.
Sterilization Gets Ride of Spores
Most importantly, sterilization eradicates a specific type of microorganism called “spores” that is often resistant to antimicrobial agents in disinfectants. Sterilization techniques that are used in a dental office are sterilization machines, also termed “autoclaves,” that combine precise levels of pressure and heat necessary to kill organisms invisible to the naked eye.
How do these machines work?
You may have guessed by now that many of those shiny, stainless steel instruments that were used in your dental procedure may be used again. However, these dental instruments cannot be reused until they have gone through a strict process of sterilization. The sterilization process starts and ends with the dental sterilizers.
After these instruments are cleaned and scrubbed with a disinfectant solution, packaged in a special pouch, and locked inside the chamber of the autoclave, they are ready to be sterilized. Inside the autoclave, this machine uses negative pressure by removing air inside its chamber, and high temperatures through distilled steam, to efficiently destroy potential microorganisms.
These specialized pouches that contain these instruments help maintain complete sterility after they are taken out of the autoclave.
How can dental sterilizers not be sterile?
A sterilization machine can come in various sizes, depending on the capacity of the dental practice. There are different classes of machines that help determine the type of instruments sterilized. An unsuitable design of an autoclave machine could lead to improper sterilization and potential spread of unwanted infection.
Class-B sterilizers should be used in tattoo parlors, medical practices, and dental practices. Dental practices that operate an incorrect class of autoclave machine have the potential of not sterilizing their instruments to the levels of pressure and temperatures needed to eliminate all bacterial organisms.
The next time you visit your local dental office you should ask your dental professional, “What class of sterilizer do you use?”
At Midtown Dentistry, Class B sterilization machines are used to operate and sterilize all instruments used for hygiene and dental procedures. Our dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants are all educated and trained to properly follow the strictest CDC guidelines for infection control.
You can tell a lot about the quality of oral care and compassion a dental practice has for their patients by the thought and investment it places on proper sterilization techniques. Dental sterilizers are a key part in a dental practice.
Dr. Jonathan Penchas & the dentists and staff of Midtown Dentistry stands by this belief in providing the very best care by maintaining the highest quality of sterilization techniques with all our patients.