The health and safety of our patients and community push us to ensure that our tools, equipment, and surfaces are disinfected per the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA).
Please read on to learn more about various dental sterilization processes that Signature Dental is adhering to:
Do you follow infection control in dentistry standards set by the CDC?
Some of these CDC guidelines pertain to the sterilization of dental instruments and equipment, the particulars of which are as follows:
For critical dental instruments that enter bone or soft tissue, each is heat and chemically sterilized after every use.
These tools may include scalpel blades, surgical burs, and extraction forceps.
For semi-critical dental instruments that do not penetrate bone or soft tissue, but that may encounter these parts, cleansing and high-level hospital-grade disinfecting each tool occurs between each use.
Semi-critical tools may include air/water syringes and amalgam condensers.
Contact surfaces that are considered non-critical must be covered to protect their integrity or disinfected between patients with medium- or low-level hospital-grade disinfectants.
Uncovered non-critical contact surfaces may include light switches, tabletops, and countertops.
Non-critical contact surfaces that are barrier protected but which frequently meet gloved hands and may be contaminated by bodily fluids must be changed out routinely between each patient.
Covered non-critical surfaces may include dental chairs.
The surfaces beneath the covering can be disinfected at the end of the day.
Our dental practitioners use PPE, personal protective equipment, like gloves and face shields, to prevent the spread of germs. These are disposed of after each use.
Our dental practitioners wash their hands with disinfectant hand soap thoroughly and routinely.
How do you maintain dental sterilization equipment and surface standards?
To sustain infection control, we follow the ADA’s requirements for reviewing monitoring indicators, which include:
Mechanical indicators: cycle time, pressure, and temperature are monitored and recorded on sterilizer gauges for every instrument load.
Biological indicators: Done by in-office or mail-in spore tests. These let us know if sterilization methods have failed.
Chemical indicators: to be used with every instrument load to measure proper sterilization environment, indicated by a change of color. If a color change does not occur, resterilize the load.
Chemical does not replace biological indicators.
Chemical indicators are sterilizer specific, including indicator tapes, and cannot be used with other equipment.
When mechanical or chemical indicators fail or biological tests return positive, the issue for the failure is sought. In the meantime, the sterilizer in question is not used.
We instead rely on our other sterilizing methods and equipment, continuously testing and retesting to ensure our tools and equipment are disinfected and safe for use.
We take the care of our patients seriously, and in doing so, take the sterilization of dental instruments and surfaces seriously.