How Are Dental Instruments Cleaned?

The title for this post was prompted by a long standing client asking this very question.            Decontamination 1

Our dental nurses behind the scenes ensuring all our equipment is clean and in full working order

Our dental nurses behind the scenes ensuring all our equipment is clean and in full working order

It is very important to be confident that your dental practice is working to the highest standards of cleanliness to ensure that you receive the best possible standards of care with the lowest risk of injury or infection.  You will not know about many of the things that are carried out to make sure these standards are met.

This is an overview of what goes on at Brightside Dental “behind the scenes” by our highly trained nursing team.

Many of the equipment and materials we use are disposable and are only used once (single use). For the others, you may have noticed the dental nurse dashing off at the end of your appointment with a box in hand. This is taken to our dedicated decontamination room where the sterilization process begins.

The nurse first “dresses up” in what we call personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes an apron, gloves, a face mask and eye protection. The instruments are first scrubbed using a special dental disinfectant solution. They are then placed in an ultrasonic bath for 3 minutes. This is a special machine that vibrates and has a different solution to remove any remaining dirt or debris on the instruments. Once this is complete, the instruments are then checked under a magnification lamp to make sure they look fully clean.

The instruments then go into an autoclave which is like an industrial pressure cooker which reaches 134 degrees C to kill any remaining bugs and germs.  This takes about 20 minutes.

The instruments are then dried and placed into a sterilization pouch so that they are clean and ready for the next time needed.

Hopefully now you see that our appointment scheduling and planning of the day is very important to ensure we have everything we need to carry out the best possible treatment. That may be why we ask you to come at a certain time of day and also why it’s normally not possible to see someone who just needs the dentist to “have a quick look” as although you may not be with us for long, there’s a lot going on before and after we see you for your appointment.