How We Sterilize Our Instruments

We are often asked how instruments are sterilized in our dental office:

The policies and procedures we use in dentistry are based on Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) procedures that are rigorous and evidence-based and have been standard practice for many years. They are designed to protect our patients and dental staff. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make wise decisions about your health care.  It’s important that everyone feel safe going to the dentist! If you have any questions please feel free to ask us!

1). After each use, instruments are cleaned, disassembled, and placed into an ultrasonic machine with powerful enzymes as a first step to kill bacteria and viruses

2). They are washed again, dried and placed into sealed packages. The sealed packages are labelled and coded

3). and placed into our sterilizers where they are exposed to extreme forces of steam, heat, and pressure.

4). Each instrument package has internal and external indicators that confirm that the instruments in the package have been sterilized

5). Each sterilization cycle is checked and recorded. The packages are inspected and logged allowing our office to track down the date and time any instrument was cleaned and sterilized.

6). In order to confirm the effectiveness of each sterilization cycle, each cycle is independently checked using a chemical indicating strip placed in a tube deep inside the sterilizer. The strip confirms that the sterilizing cycle worked properly.

7). Each sterilizer is also checked with a separate ‘spore test’. A tube containing inert biological spores is placed into the sterilizer. It is then placed into an incubator to check to see that the sterilizer is able to kill bacteria and viruses.

Every instrument used in our office must be sterilized, logged, and double-checked in order to make sure that the instrument is suitable for reuse. All packages are stored in a closed cupboard prior to use and are only opened at time of use in the clinical operatory and treatment room.