Recently we have had a number of patients and parents ask about our sterilization procedures, so I thought I would spend a little time writing about this topic since it doesn’t get discussed very often.
We live in a world of germs (unfortunately), and we all do our best to wash our hands, get our Flu shots, and protect ourselves from those pesky bugs that threaten us every day. As dental professionals, we are held to an even higher standard when it comes to keeping our offices, treatment areas, instruments, and our people as clean as possible.
Our office employs a number of measures to ensure that our patients and staff are abiding by federal, state and local laws. We use “universal precautions,” which are defined as wearing new gloves for each patient (we use all latex-free gloves), using eye protection, and wearing masks when the risk of airborne particles is present, such as when we are using a dental handpiece to polish teeth.
All of our instruments that are used in the mouth undergo an ultrasonic decontamination, and then either a dry heat and/or steam autoclave sterilization that exceeds industry standards. For our more “fragile” items, such as plastics and mirrors for in-the-mouth photography, we sterilize them via a cold-soaking solution for a minimum of 10 hours. Each operatory surface and chair is thoroughly disinfected between patients through a combination of cleaning procedures.
We use a “self-contained” water delivery system in our operations so we can be sure fresh water is used daily, and all of our fresh water lines are flushed with a sterilization solution on a regular basis to ensure no bacterial growth.
A lot of time and effort from our dedicated staff goes into maintaining the cleanest possible office environment for our patients and their families, and we take our sterilization and disinfection protocols very seriously to assure that our patients are receiving care in the safest possible environment.