INFECTION CONTROL PROCEDURES

Infection controls and universal precautions protect patients 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.

Our entire team follow procedures recommended by several federal agencies: the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control.

A strict infection control protocol includes:

  • Disinfectant hand soap
  • Gloves and face masks
  • Chemical disinfection of countertops and surfaces
  • Sterilization of all equipment before every use
  • Disposable materials

We sterilize all reusable equipment, including dental hand pieces. We use Euroklav 23 VS+ – the best of its kind from Melag (Germany), a device that kills bacteria and viruses by steam, heat and pressure.

HAND WASHING

Hands are the most common way diseases are transmitted. Your dentist, dental hygienist and all health care providers should wash their hands before every patient. If you don’t see them washing their hands before treating you, ask about it. Hand washing is good for you too. According to the CDC, hand washing prevents the spread of colds and flu.

CLEANING OF DENTAL INSTRUMENTS

Any dental hand instrument used during a dental procedure must undergo a cleaning and sterilization procedure

  1. Immediately after the completion of a dental procedure (examination, restoration, surgery) the instruments must be discarded in a special plastic container filled with an appropriate disinfectant solution or enzyme solution with a proteolytic action.
  2. After leaving the instruments within the solution for as long as the manufacturer recommends, they are transferred to the machine washer where they undergo thorough mechanical cleaning using the appropriate detergents.
  3. After the instruments have been cleaned, they are packaged in special bags or perforated cassettes and they are taken to the autoclaves.

STERILIZATION OF HANDPIECES

Sterilizing the handpieces requires special attention and suitable preparation so that any damage to their interior mechanisms are avoided and, consequently, defective operational and financial burden is prevented.

After the completion of any dental procedure, the external surfaces of the handpiece that have come into contact with saliva, blood, dental tissue debris and residues of dental materials must be cleaned. However, when cavities or restorative core preparations are undertaken subgingivally, it is likely that the internal tubing of the handpieces is contaminated due to various hydrodynamic phenomena at the working end of the handpiece.

  1. After the end of the dental procedure the handpiece must be operated for 5-10 seconds over the wash basin or a similar container while ejecting water and air.
  2. Then, after being detached from the tubings and connections with the unit, it must be meticulously washed and brushed under running water.washed and brushed under running water.
  3. Then, it must be dried with an absorbent paper.
  4. After external cleaning, the handpiece is reconnected to the tubings and operated for 3-5 seconds only with air so that any water residues are removed from the interior of the tubes and the impellers.
  5. Then, the handpiece is lubricated with the lubricant recommended by the manufacturer and operates again for 10-20 seconds only with air so that the lubricant is properly distributed throughout the sensitive areas of the head of the handpiece.
  6. After the end of this procedure, the handpiece along with the bur extractor are enclosed in a special pouch which is made airtight with either a self-adhesive tape or a thermosealer.
  7. The handpiece and the bur extractors are placed in the autoclave taking care not to overpack the pouches and ensuring that the air can pass unhampered
  8. Right before using them, some handpieces must be lubricated again with an appropriate lubricant which, this time, must be either sterilised or new and generally different from the one used to lubricate the handpiece before being placed in the autoclave.

STERILIZATION OF BURS

Burs should be sterilized independently of their type or the area of the mouth in which they have been used.

A necessary step prior to sterilising a bur is meticulous cleaning to remove tooth derbis, residues of dental materials, blood clots or a paste-like mixture with saliva of all the above. The most widely accepted cleaning method for burs and other micro instruments are ultrasonic devices (bath) using suitable solutions and with the addition of enzymes with a proteolytic action.

  1. After removal from the ultrasonic bath, burs must be dried using an absorbent paper and hot air.
  2. They must then be placed in an appropriate device for Sterilisation, depending on the material they are made of

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.