Learn How Your Dentist is Keeping Their Instruments Clean

a treatment room with several dental instruments waiting to be used

Making sure dental instruments are kept clean is now more important than ever. Dentists and their team must follow all manufacturer instructions to make sure the items used to clean a patient’s teeth and gums are thoroughly sanitized and disinfected. But how is this process completed? Find out how a dental assisting school can better prepare you for this type of task when you enter into the field.

Why Sterilize Dental Instruments?

Dentists and their teams must follow strict instructions on how to clean and sanitize various dental instruments after seeing a patient. While taking a dental assistant course, you will learn how to do this properly to ensure hygienists and dentists are using items that are thoroughly prepped and ready for use.

Following the processes provided by the Occupational Safety & Hazard Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), these sterilization and cross-contamination guidelines ensure that no harmful germs, bacteria, or viruses are transferred onto the next patient. When possible, dentists try to use disposable instruments instead of those that must be reused. For example, suction devices have replaceable tips that allow for single use. Gloves, needles, and cotton balls/rolls are also disposable.

However, since not all objects can be thrown away after one use, it is necessary to perform a sterilization process.

How is Cleaning Performed?

Using the recommendations provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), an autoclave is used to disinfect objects such as dental mirrors, scalers, and forceps. This device uses high pressure, saturated steam to thoroughly sanitize the instruments.

After placing the items into a specialized pouch, they are put into the autoclave before setting the timer. Because the bags have a clear window on one side and are equipped with color indicators, it is easy to determine when sterilization is complete.

How is Equipment Thoroughly Cleaned?

Apart from the individual instruments used during an appointment, the equipment a dentist and hygienist must use should also be sanitized. But since you can’t place them in a cleaning device, how can they be disinfected?

The chair, countertops, overhead light, and other frequently touched areas are disinfected using EPA-approved cleaners. Not to mention, most objects (i.e. the chair and overhead light handle) have disposable covers that can be easily removed after each patient. Also, dental professionals always wear gloves, masks, and other protective equipment to avoid possible transmission of germs and bacteria.

Because COVID-19 has brought sanitation and cleanliness to the forefront, you can trust that as an aspiring dental assistant, you will receive the necessary training to keep your patients safe from possible illness in the future.

About Dental Assistant Pro
For more than 25 years, Dental Assistant Pro has been providing aspiring dental assistants with essential knowledge and hands-on skills learning. Our philosophy is the best dental assisting training should be taught in a dental office at an affordable cost, so why not take a chance and enroll in our 10-week course schedule? It’s now more affordable than ever to become a dental assistant! To learn more about us, visit our website or call (614) 202-3919.

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