In dentistry, sterilization of the invasive tools and instruments used
is very important. Tools which are commonly sterilized include those
such as detectors, mouth mirrors, pliers, elevators, dental scalars and
tips. Medical technicians who are involved in the sterilization of the
dental equipment and tools usually keep record of them, the chemicals
which are used and the maintenance of the equipment as well.
Unless the tools and dental equipment are properly sterilized, a variety of saliva and blood-borne pathogens can easily travel from patient to patient. Here are some of the ways in which tools used by a dentist are sterilized:
This is probably one of the sterilizing methods which many dentists
prefer when it comes to decontaminating instruments. This is also the
method which is most recommended by manufacturers of dental instruments
since it helps to take care of nearly all dental instruments and
In this method, non-saturated steam is used at 132 degrees Celsius
along with a solution of water and chemicals. This sterilizing cycle
runs for roughly 20 to 30 minutes. A prime advantage of the method is
that there is no corrosion of carbide steel or other materials which are
sensitive to corrosion. However, it does produce a somewhat hazardous
chemical residue and so the process has to be performed in an area which
These chemical solutions which are iodine-based are used because of
their germicidal properties. They help reduce the staining effects and
caustic capacity of many common pathogens found in to instruments. These
instruments are soaked for roughly 5 to 20 minutes in the solution in
order to be fully sterilized.
In this method, the tools are not subject to extreme temperatures.
The disinfection action is largely dependent on the amount of time for
which the tools are soaked in the solution. On top of this, the method
also requires plenty of brushing and cleaning off of dental debris found
on the surface. Various mixtures of synthetic preparations, phenols are
occasionally used in the decontamination of these dental tools. They
work great with cleaners like detergents
Tools which are sensitive to moisture and heat can be put through this machine. These sterilizers are fitted with a pump in order to create a vacuum in the chamber where the tools are places. This will allow positive steam penetration all over the entire lot. In the case of tools which are sensitive to heat and moisture, a chemical called Ethylene Oxide is used.