Exposure Control: Appendix C
destroys all microbial life including spores. The Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) recommend that any item which can be sterilized, should be
sterilized and the method of first choice is steam autoclaving although,
chemical vapor, dry heat and ethylene oxide are satisfactory when used
correctly. The CDC and ADA recommend weekly spore testing of the
sterilizer. A chemical indicator strip placed inside instrument packages
is an additional safe guard. Autoclave tape on the outside helps
identify packages quickly and easily that have been sterilized. The tape
color does not prove that the sterilizer was working properly, only the
spore test can verify that.
sterilization is not recommended due to the time for achieving
sterilization (10 hours) and the monitoring problems of using chemical
sterilants. The ability of a chemical to sterilize is lessened by the
amount of water and organic material in the solution.
are scrubbed or run through the ultrasonic (preferred method), they
should be rinsed, dried and inspected. Always wear heavy-duty gloves
when handling contaminated instruments. Utilize the basket in the
ultrasonic. It is not permissible to reach hands into the container to
retrieve instruments. "Operating" checks should be performed monthly on
the ultrasonic. Instruments should be packaged in paper, sterilization
tubing, or bagged or wrapped cassettes and sterilized appropriately.
Most manufacturers of sterilizing equipment will have directions for
packaging instruments in their operators' manual- As a general rule,
always use recommended packaging and loading techniques of the
sterilizer manufacturer. If too many instruments are placed into the
sterilizer, the appropriate heat and steam may not reach all instruments
and they will not be properly sterilized.
manufacturer's recommendations for lubricating handpieces and prophy
angles before and after sterilization.
Do not store clean
and contaminated instruments in the same area.
The storage, usage, or cleaning of food, dishes, cosmetics including lip
balm, or the handling of contact lens is prohibited in the sterilization