Sterilisation is a necessary operation to ensure the safety of the dental patient. The sterilisation protocol consists of 13 steps, which you can find out in detail on this page.
CASTIFICATION: is the process of reducing the microbial load in order to avoid the risk of infection on the part of the operators.
All used, non-disposable instruments are collected in a seamless container and transported to the sterilisation area.
DECONTAMINATION: The procedure involves full immersion of the instruments in a disinfectant solution to remove pathogenic microorganisms from the instruments.
The instruments are first decontaminated, i.e. immersed for at least 10 minutes in a solution of water and peracetic acid (also used for surgical instruments in hospitals).
MANUAL OR MECHANICAL WASHING: consists of brushing the instruments with a non-corrosive detergent in order to clean them. Mechanical washing is the cleaning by means of an instrument washing machine or alternatively ultrasonic treatment. Mechanical cleaning is preferable to manual cleaning because it reduces the risk of accidents by the operator. Ultrasonic cleaning guarantees a more thorough cleaning of the medical device, especially those parts of the instrument that are difficult to clean with manual or mechanical cleaning.
RINSE: consists of washing the instruments with running water to remove any detergent residue.
CLEANING: is a procedure that can be carried out with paper or cloth cloths that do not release fibres.
CONTROL AND MAINTENANCE: Medical devices should be checked to ensure that they are clean and undamaged. Instruments that require maintenance should be lubricated with water-soluble products.
PACKAGING: After the inspection all instruments are packed. The packaging ensures that the instrument remains sterile until the next use.
STERILIZATION: The packaged instruments are placed in an autoclave which will release steam up to a temperature of 115° or 134° maximum. This step is used to eliminate any micro-organisms that remain after washing.
TRACEABILITY: this process allows the sterilised device to be identified at any time, thanks to the data on the packaging of the instruments, i.e. the initials of the operator who carried out the sterilisation procedure, the number of the sterilisation cycle, the date of packaging and the expiry date, usually 30 days after the sterilisation procedure.
RETRIACEABILITY: This phase consists of recording all documents related to the sterilisation step in a special register, so that they are always available to the operators.
STORAGE: This is a procedure for storing the instruments in special storage containers.
PERIODIC CHECKS: this step concerns some checks that should be made to ensure good sterilisation of the dental practice. The sterilisation surface and the date on the sterilised packages must be checked daily, the vacuum test for the release of the autoclave vacuum must be carried out, and finally the chemical supplement test must be performed. Periodically a control test of the ultrasonic tanks, a sealer test, the Bowie & Dick Test, the Helix Test and the See Test must be carried out.
EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE: Equipment must be periodically maintained according to the machine book. The maintenance must be carried out by qualified personnel, indicated by the manufacturer.