Sterilization & Infection Control
Infection controls and universal precautions protect clients and staff alike. Everyone benefits from rigorous infection control — you, your dentist, and the dental team. The cornerstone in a good and safe dental practice is the element of trust. You should feel free to discuss this topic with Dr. Esrawi and receive a straightforward answer.
Dr. Esrawi and our entire team follow procedures recommended by several federal agencies: the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These measures include:
- Disinfectant hand soap
- Gloves and face masks
- Chemical disinfection of countertops and surfaces
- Sterilization of all equipment before every use
- Disposable materials
Our office uses state of the art sterilization to ensure patient safety.
Sterilization and disinfection are the basic steps in instrument processing and surface asepsis. Sterilization refers to the use of a physical or chemical procedure to destroy all forms of microorganisms, including the highly resistant spores.
We use Rapid Steam Autoclave at 275º F(35psi), for 15-20 minutes
First, the instruments are prepared for the sterilization process. Patient debris and fluids are removed by placing the instruments in 3.2% glutaraldehyde for 40 minutes. Following this pre-disinfection step the instruments are transferred to an ultrasonic cleaner for another 15 minutes. Then the instruments are rinsed, dried, placed in self sealing sterilization pouches and sterilized in the autoclave. Instruments which can not be heat sterilized, are immersed in 2% glutaraldehyde for 10 hours to cold sterilize.
We use Biological, Chemical and Mechanical indicators to monitor our sterilization process.
Using bacterial spores to monitor the sterilization process is referred to as biologic monitoring (or spore-testing), and the bacterial spores used for monitoring the sterilization process are referred to as biologic indicators (BIs). Of the three methods, biologic monitoring is regarded as the most valid for monitoring the sterilization process, for it uses live, highly resistant bacterial spores.
We biologically monitor our sterilizer once a week to ensure complete sterilization using spore strips and keep accurate records for our monitoring. These strips are enclosed in a glassine envelope and processed through the sterilizer. They are then sent to our spore testing center where they are tested for live spores.
Chemical monitoring involves using chemical indicators (CIs) that change color or form when exposed to specific high temperatures or to the sterilizing conditions within a sterilizer. This is also referred to as process monitoring. We use sterilization pouches that have special marking that change color when subjected to sterilizing temperatures.
Mechanical monitoring involves observing and recording the physical aspects (e.g., temperature, pressure or time) of the cycle when the sterilizer is being operated. Our Sterilizer is serviced regularly to ensure proper functioning.
The best defense against disease is information. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make wise decisions about your health care. The more you know about our daily procedures and policies, the more comfortable you will feel.