Dental office sterilization has been a career long passion of mine. Infection control protocols and recommendations have been developed by CDC, OSHA and ADA in reaction to disease threats, safety issues, and ongoing research over the years. In turn, companies evolve their products and instrument-management systems to enable dental care providers to adhere to new regulations. These products and systems facilitate up to date, safe, effective, and efficient instrument processing. The success of your practice, now and going forward post Covid 19, will depend on your ability to meet the highest standards of infection control and instrument management.
As late as the 1970’s instrument management focused on organization and efficiency, not necessarily infection control. No one wore gloves or masks, and instrument were often hand washed and cleaned with gauze and alcohol. In the early 1980s, the AIDS epidemic hit. Widespread public panic and fear of being exposed to infectious disease became the norm. This global health crisis led to a whole new level of infection control. Stringent guidelines and mandated regulations were required in medicine and dentistry. In 1986, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published their first comprehensive dental infection control guidelines and adopted “universal precautions” based on the concept that all blood, and body fluids that might contain blood, are potentially contaminated and should be treated as infectious. Infection control and safety for dental personnel and patients receiving treatment in a dental facility became a top priority.
Sterilization systems have been developed in the past to support the steps and sequencing necessary to safely ensure compliant results. Instrument cassettes are crucial to minimizing risk to staff and for the proper handling of dental instruments. Now, during this time of office closure, is an ideal time to evaluate the adequacy of your current set up. Do you have the equipment necessary to manage the volume of instruments and sterilization requirements going forward?
Your sterilization center is the heart of the office. It has a direct effect on health, safety and efficiency. The current guidelines, and the likely changes and expansion of requirements, will apply to sterilization in all dental offices. When evaluating the efficacy of sterilization in an office I look at the capacity needed based on: sterilization space available, number of operatories, number of providers and procedure types. A complete sterilization system can be as compact as 6′ for small office, and up to 8′, 10′, 11′, 14′ and even up to 40′ for very large operations. I can match your space with your needs while meeting all CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines and requirements.
For over two decades I have successfully configuring sterilization areas for hundreds of dental offices, creating correct, state of the art sterilization workflow including implementation of cassettes, instrument washer, instrument dryers, sterilizers, handpiece lubrication, vacuum and storage. In addition, I can train your team to use the system correctly and most importantly, teach them to identify ways the process is might be compromised. By evaluating the need and updating now you will feel completely confident that you are keeping your personnel and patients as safe as possible.
We can begin this process of evaluating your sterilization center together virtually!
Let’s schedule a Facetime consultation from the safety of your office to review your sterilization area and function. Alternatively, please email me 4 pictures of your current area. Take 4-5 close up close and 4-5 from 8-12 ft away. I will use the photos to analyze where you are at, and make a customized recommendation that will put you in the best place to meet guidelines and requirements in the future.