Introduction:

As a dental surgeon, it becomes necessary in a dental clinic to maintain hygiene and avoid contamination. Dental instruments used in daily dental practice get contaminated with blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids, not advisable to use in other patients until it is completely sterilized

The main aim is to protect a healthy patient from getting infected and provide quality treatment in a germ-free environment. Indian Dental Association (IDA) has recommended some guidelines for dental professionals, which involves properly following the steps of sterilization of instruments and handpieces that lead to an improvement in infection control, risk assessment & disease management.

To have an effective way of sterilization, a sequence of processes has to be maintained. The processes include proper cleaning of instruments, wrapping, sterilization and keeping in the UV chamber to maintain the sterility of the instruments for a longer period of time.

Pre-Sterilization Process:

It is the most essential part of sterilization. Without following the pre-sterilization process, proper sterilization cannot be achieved. Removal of debris and contaminated particles from the surface of the reusable instruments is done by using ultrasonic cleaners.

Ultrasonic Cleaner:

This is a device that uses ultrasonic waves to clean the instruments. It is more useful than manual cleaning that includes soaking, rinsing, brushing, etc. It removes contaminants like blood stains, debris, etc. without damaging the item itself. An Ultrasonic Cleaner uses high-frequency waves that agitate liquid within the sink, creating rapid formation & collapse of bubbles, called cavitation effect. As the bubble collapses, the cleaning solution rushes into inaccessible areas of objects submerged in the tank and makes the instruments ready for the next process.

Wrapping of Instruments:

Packaging of instruments should be done in a low contamination area with clean hands or wearing gloves. Sterilization pouches are made of plastic/paper material for proper visibility of the instruments placed inside and the paper side comes with an inbuilt indicator for verification of sterilization. It also assures proper maintenance of the sterility and safe transportation of the kit after sterilization for dental surgical procedures.

Sterilization:

It is a process that destroys all types of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, fungi and vegetative spores on the surface of an instrument to prevent cross-contamination and disease transformation. Disinfection is a process by which the bacteria and fungi get removed and become harmless. So disinfection is not a substitute for sterilization. The advantages of the sterilization process include:

·         It eliminates the growth of bacteria on the surface of the instruments.

·         Reduction in the number of bioburdens (Number of non-sterile bacteria living on the surface).

·         Ensure the safety of the instrument to use before any dental procedure.

Steam Sterilizer:

It is the most effective decontamination method. When distilled water is heated under pressure, it creates steam, which is very effective for killing microorganisms. Reusable surgical instruments when placed inside a steam sterilizer effectively get sterilized and the vegetative spores of the bacteria along with the virus become inactive. Pressure steam sterilization is approved and recommended by the world health organization (WHO) and the food and drug administration (FDA). Pressure steam sterilization is economical, the sterilization effect is stable and reliable, and it can be used in most dental instruments. It has short sterilization time and a large capacity to make the dentist work easy and simple.

For dental clinics, B type autoclave is mostly recommended.

B-type Autoclave:

B type autoclave/Class B Autoclave helps you provide the best quality treatment in your dental practice. It comes with triple Vacuum cycles. One pre-Vacuum cycle displaces the air present inside the chamber for effective sterilization method and another Vacuum cycle post-sterilization removes the moist from the chamber for proper dry cycle. This makes the autoclave perfect for dental clinics and sterilization of porous and hollow instruments can be done efficiently which are used mostly for surgical procedures.

Post Sterilization Method:

To maintain the sterility of the instruments post- sterilization is imperative. It should be stored in a way so that the potential for contamination is reduced. Sterile instruments packages should be handled with care without crushing or bending or puncture in the sealed packet. To avoid all of this, it is recommended to use a UV chamber for contamination-free storage. It has UV rays present inside the chamber when microorganisms are exposed to UV rays at a particular wavelength (200-280 nm), their reproduction capability is destroyed and inactivation occurs at a faster rate so that they no longer pose threat to humans.