As mentioned in previous posts, sterilization is an important step in our dentistry practice. Both cross infection and contamination are harmful to our patients, staffs, and ourself. In order to achieve safe evidence-based practices, autoclave sterilization is my primary method regarding sterilizing instruments and supplies. Since gravity displacement autoclave is the currently available autoclave I can obtain, here is how I am going to apply it.
After my dental practice, my instruments are washed with tap water to remove any debris on them and put into 1% glutaraldehyde solutions for disinfection. Then the instruments with the glutaraldehyde solutions are put into the ultrasound cleaner for 15 minutes. The instruments are then transported to the packaging area. A single package consists of three components: a dental mirror, an explorer, and a plier. Other surgical equipments, for example an elevator for extraction of molars or a forcep, are packed as one instrument in one package. Trays are placed directly into the carrier of the autoclave, and cotton balls are put into a closed container for sterilization. Files for endodontic are placed in the specialized box for autoclave. Packages are put into the sterilization box and put into the autoclave.
(Sterilization packaging in dentistry)
Autoclave is set at 121°C (250°F) for 30 minutes and the filtered water are poured to the base of the autoclave. The sterilization process is then started. After 30 minutes, the sterilization box is removed from the autoclave and the packages are transported to the storage area. The most frequently used packages (dental mirror, explorer, and plier pack) are put at the first drawer. Other surgical equipments are put at the second drawer and are categorized by functions. Trays are also put at the first drawer.
Since the storage and sterilization need to be separated, the whole procedure will not have any chance of cross contamination. This is to ensure the patients received the best possible health-care we can provide.
(Cross contamination can be harmful)