Dentist sterilization procedures are more important in today’s world than ever before. With the ever-present threat of COVID-19, dental offices needed to step up their procedures for sterilizing their dentist equipment. When going to the dentist, you want to know that their safety precautions leave nothing to chance.

How is a dentist’s equipment cleaned these days? What are the procedures used to keep their patients safe? Read on to learn the safety precautions used to sterilize dental equipment!

Single-Use Items

While not technically sterilization, single-use items do allow for keeping equipment cleaner between appointments. Plastic tips on devices placed over a sterile plastic bag is a technique often employed in all types of medical offices. It is still a first-line of defense for the patient.

Every dental office makes use of any number of single-use items to keep bother their instruments clean and their patients safe. These range from napkins, syringe needles, and polishing cups, to plastic coverings and barriers. Once used, they are taken and disposed of safely using special medical guidelines.

Ultrasonic Cleaning

Some instruments are not single-use like mouth mirrors ad forceps, that need to be thoroughly sterilized before they can be used again. Ultrasonic cleaners are used to remove debris from the equipment. They use both sound and a disinfectant solution, acting like a dishwasher to give the instruments a good cleaning.

Steam Sterilization

Steam sterilization has each item immersed directly in steam, usually at two-hundred and fifty to two-hundred and seventy-five degrees for up to thirty minutes, with a drying time of up to forty minutes. This type of sterilization is done in a machine known as an autoclave, and can sometimes make use of sterilization pouches. You can find more information on these pouches at

Dry Heat Sterilization

This type of sterilization uses static or forced air to heat the instruments for up to one-hundred and fifty minutes at three-hundred and seventy-five degrees. With forced air, the air is heated and circulated through the chamber at high speed. With static air, the heat causes the hot air to rise using natural convection.

Dry heat sterilization is primarily used on equipment that should not get wet. The method is non-toxic and safe for the environment. It is a preferred method to use with sharp and metallic objects as this method is not corrosive.

Unsaturated Chemical Vapor Sterilization

Unsaturated chemical vapor sterilization, also called liquid chemical sterilization uses a combination of alcohol, ketone, acetone, formaldehyde, and water to form a vapor that is used to sterilize instruments. The vapor is used at high pressures at up to two-hundred and seventy degrees for up to forty minutes. After, the instruments are thoroughly rinsed with water to remove the chemical residue.

Dentist Sterilization Procedures

Dentist sterilization procedures are more strict and monitored more closely to protect their patient’s health. After each use, the re-used instruments go through these thorough procedures for them to be as sterile as possible for the next patient. Your dental professionals care about your health!

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