One of the biggest concerns of our practice, and of any upstanding dental office, is to provide the highest level of cleanliness and sanitation possible. It is essential for dental instruments to be properly sterilized and disinfected in order to prevent the transmission of infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dental instruments are classified into three categories, depending on the level of risk of transmitting infection.
1) Critical: Instruments used to penetrate soft tissue or bone, or contact the bloodstream or other normally sterile tissue. These tools must be sterilized after every use, and include forceps, scalpels, and bone chisels, among others. Adequate sterilization can be achieved through one of the following methods: pressurized steam, dry heat, or heat/chemical vapor.
2) Semi-Critical: Instruments that come into contact with non-intact skin or mucous membranes, but do not penetrate tissue or bone. Examples include reusable impression trays, mirrors, and amalgam condensers.
3) Non-Critical: Instruments that only come into contact with intact skin. You’ll see many of these around a dentist’s chair: x-ray heads, blood pressure cuffs, and pulse oximeters, etc. For this type of equipment, an intermediate-level disinfectant is adequate for proper cleaning.
At our dental office, you can be assured that these procedures are a high priority. Feel free to ask us if you have any questions about our sterilization and disinfecting processes.