STERILIZATION PROTOCOL

Dental office sterilization

Your health and safety is our primary concern. That’s why our office has proper controls and precautions in place to protect our valued clients and staff including strict protocols in cleaning dental instruments and dental office sterilization. We practice high levels of infection control to provide you with the highest quality of care in the safest possible environment.

Ensuring your safety

Our staff is trained to follow and incorporate recommendations from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

We use the latest dental sterilization equipment and machines, including dental autoclaves, dental sterilizers, and steam sterilizers. Using these devices to clean dental instruments kills viruses and bacteria by applying pressure, steam, and heat.

Additionally, we ensure surfaces are safe and clean by:

  • Requiring gloves and face masks

  • Ensuring disinfectant hand soap is available throughout the office

  • Using disposable materials whenever possible

  • Cleaning surfaces with chemical disinfectants

  • Sterilizing equipment between each use

You’ll see our team following these protocols during your visit. All of our clinical staff will be wearing gloves and masks during examinations and procedures. These materials will be discarded after every use, and all surfaces in exam rooms will be cleaned and sanitized with EPA approved chemicals.

 

Disposable materials

Most, if not all of the materials we use are disposable and safely discarded after each use. This includes gloves, face shields, masks, and gowns, as well as items used in the exam itself, including gauze, brushes, and floss.  

Our staff is expertly trained in best practices when using and handling disposable materials, ensuring they’re properly stored, used, and disposed of.

 

Reusable instruments

Instruments that cannot be discarded are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each use. We follow the process below to ensure proper dental sterilization practices are followed:

  • Clean – All instruments are thoroughly cleaned before being packaged. Ultrasonic cleaners are used, which ensure all bacteria, germs, and debris are completely removed.

  • Package – Once clean, instruments are wrapped in sterilization pouches.

  • Sterilization – Once safely packaged, instruments are sterilized using FDA approved dental autoclave sterilizers.

  • Disinfect – After every use, all surfaces and machines are thoroughly disinfected using EPA approved surface cleaners.

Once cleaned, packaged, and sterilized, instruments are safely stored until ready for use. Our dental sterilization protocol follows best practices and makes sure that a sparkling smile is your only concern when visiting our office.

How do you ensure infection control in dentistry?

While the first step to ensuring a safe and clean dental office is by following the protocols listed above, we also strive to follow a maintenance policy. This is set out by the ADA and guides us in our processes to ensure steps towards infection control is preserved.

Our specific maintenance procedures are as follows:

  • Mechanical indicators: these are in place for every load of instruments we put through our dental autoclave machine. Temperature, cycle time, and pressure are all noted on the sterilizer gauge and recorded.

  • Biological indicators: this includes both mail-in and in-office monitoring. Only biological indicator endospores can measure the effectiveness of the sterilization process.

    • Mail-in: though it may take up to two weeks to receive results, this allows us to send incubator and spore monitoring strips to third-party labs.

    • In-office: results take up to 48 hours and allows us to test that our incubator and spore monitoring strips are up to standards.

  • Chemical indicators: which include indicator tapes that change color after a proper sterilization cycle has occurred. Different tapes are used for different sterilizers. These are used with every load of instruments you put through our dental tool sterilization machines.

Any time a mechanical, chemical, or biological failure is indicated, the tool or equipment in question is not used until a reason for this failure is detected and fixed.

 

Our commitment to you

We hope that you now better understand the stringent processes we follow to ensure every instrument and surface is cleaned and sterilized.

Sterilization and infection control are activities we take seriously. By closely following the guidelines set out by the CDC and ADA, we are able to ensure that our clients, our coworkers, and our community are safe from potential outbreaks.

Your trust and confidence that we are providing you and your family with the safest environment possible is the foundation of our practice. That’s why our staff undergoes meticulous training in cleaning protocols to make sure that they practice the most current techniques.

Our systems and procedures are updated frequently following the guidance of the American Dental Association and the CDC. If you ever have questions for us, just ask! Our team will provide you with detailed information about the steps we take to protect you and your family from viruses, bacteria, and infectious diseases.

We look forward to seeing your smile!