Different equipments and dental tools are used in every dental clinic. The same equipment is used for all the patients. Proper hygiene and sterilization are necessary in order to prevent diseases to occur and spread. There have been many cases which were seen in hospitals that told they have been here due to maltreatment at dental clinics and their poor hygienic conditions or no sterilization at all.
Every dental setup has a different means of getting its equipment and gears sterilized. The way of sterilization process depends upon a particular region as well. Developed countries have more advanced ways to sterilize the equipment and can be trusted as well. Developing countries also strive for the best possible sterilization of these gadgets.
Every dental setup carries out the cleaning process of the utensils. There are two types of cleaning; whether manual or automated. Manual cleaning involves the use of hands, scrubbing and presoaking. High quality detergents are used. It is better to go for automated cleaning because there is no exposure to blood. There are good machines available that cleanse the dental tools in a closed environment. Once cleansed, the dental tools are dried up thoroughly. If not dried, the corrosion might occur and the apparatus might get contaminated again. Then, before the instruments undergo sterilization process, they are packaged. There are different packaging materials. The mode of sterilization determines the type of packaging material. Why packaging should be done? This is to protect the instruments from being contaminated again after sterilization.
Now comes, the actual sterilization process. There are different sterilization techniques. One of the techniques is ‘heating’. This is the most commonly used sterilization technique. Steam and vapor sterilization is also used by the use of water. There are hot air ovens which operates with electricity consumes no water. But the dry sterilization might not be as effective as the heating with water molecules. Besides heat sterilization, there are techniques that involve ‘cold’ sterilization of the dental utensils. The cold sterilization came forward with the idea that some of the tools used in dentistry can not withstand the high temperature and might lose their effectiveness or functionality. Such tools are sterilized with cold techniques of sterilization. Glutaraldehyde is a substance that is used in cold sterilization. Other chemicals are ortho phthalaldehyde, ethylene oxide etc.
It is important to sterilize the whole dental clinic environment as well. The environment includes the chair, air, water, surfaces to be cleaned and free of germs. This is essential because the dental tools might get contaminated again as soon as they are exposed to an unhygienic environment. Ozone is used to sterilize and clean the surfaces, water and air. Besides, ultraviolet light is also used in sterilization.
Once sterilization has been done, the tools are meant to be kept in a sterilized environment under sterilized containers and packaging. The room or the container where the utensils are stored should be free from any kind of dust and dirt, insects and animals. There should be no moisture or humidity as bacteria and other germs grow under moisture. The question arises for how long the dental instruments remain sterilized in shelf without being used. This depends on various factors.