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Steam Autoclave

Posted in Dental Care, Dental Surgery, and General Dentistry

Behind the Scenes

Dentistry requires strict adherence to specific cleanliness guidelines to prevent infections. Behind the scenes, before you arrive, a regiment of sterilization takes place. A key part of the process includes the compete sterilization of all dental instruments. Every dentist and hygienist receive extensive training in infection prevention and dental sterilization techniques. Erbsville Dental is proud of their sterilization equipment and process. Their modern infection control procedures limit your exposure, and risk of sickness or infection while visiting. In many ways their dental office has higher standards for disinfection than some medical or surgical suites (operating rooms).

Some dental tools are one use only, but there are many instruments that need to be re-used and therefore, for obvious reasons (cross contamination) must be thoroughly sterilized. That is, all forms of microbial life must be removed from each tool used on a patient. There are two categories of tools that a dentist will completely sterilize between uses. “Critical” (i.e. scalpel), “Semi- Critical” (i.e. mouth mirror). A third category of tool “Non-Critical” (a tool not touching tissue or bone. i.e. a tool tray) needs to be disinfected but not necessarily “sterilized”. See “Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Guidelines

The Sterilization Process

Consider the sterilization process. First, a thorough cleaning to eliminate most bacteria is carried out after each use. Second, heat is used via a special machine called a steam autoclave to kill all remaining microorganisms. A steam autoclave is the most common machine of its type, a standard in Canada for dental clinics. It is what is used at Erbsville Dental. The device works by raising the temperature of the instruments or tools hot enough to kill all microbial organisms.

Governing bodies like the Ministry of Health require a digital record of the sterilization process which autoclaves provide. This record which can be asked for at any time during a clinic audit ensures the process is faithfully carried out. After the sterilization process and drying cycle, instruments are sealed in a sterile vacuum sealed bag for their next use. There is much more involved in sterilizing dental equipment, but you can trust its thorough and regulated. Dr. Mathews is adamant that patient to patient infections never happen at Erbsville Dental.

Each year dental clinics spend thousands of dollars and quite a bit of time preparing for your visit. The sterilization process they are committed to is vital for any medical practice but especially for dentists. Viruses and infections are most commonly transmitted via blood or saliva. That means, every dental appointment, even a simple cleaning, involves risk because of the very nature of the mouth. Dental tools are continually in contact with soft tissue, blood, and saliva. COVID-19 has taught us that many are unaware they are even sick at the time they transmit the illness. Without sterilization and normal safeguards like proper PPE, handwashing ect. Everyone would be exposed to contagions, both the dental team, and patients.

You Are Safe at Erbsville Dental

Erbsville Dental strictly adheres to The Royal Ontario College of Dental Surgeons (RCDSO), and The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) guidelines for the clinic to fight off COVID-19. But they are also conscious of the millions of other microbial organisms that potentially could cause you harm. (Read “Breath Easy at Erbsville Dental“). Following best practices, Erbsville Dental believes they have an excellent steam autoclave and a very strong process to sterilize equipment. They work hard to get the small details right to protect your health and safety and have sterilization down to a science.