Keeping the surfaces of our work areas clean and our equipment sterilized has always been important, and we are working even harder to keep every part of our practice clean and infection-free. Here are the most important things to know about our sterilization processes:
- We follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
- Equipment and instruments are classified into three categories based on risk of infection transmission: non-critical, semi-critical and critical.
- Non-critical instruments touch only the skin, such as x-ray sensors or blood pressure cuffs and can be reused after applying intermediate level disinfection classified as hospital disinfectant or tuberculocidal, which specifically targets and kills bacteria that causes TB as well as a host of other bacteria and viruses.
- Semi-critical instruments contact the mucous membranes, like mirrors, probes or impression trays that go inside of the cheek or inside the mouth. These instruments are autoclaved (heat sterilized).
- Critical instruments encounter blood/saliva and are used to penetrate bone or soft tissue, such as extraction instruments and hand pieces. We also sterilize them by dry sterilization or heat/chemical vapor and autoclaving.
- Office cleanliness and surface contamination
- For housekeeping surfaces (door handles, light switches, floors), research does indicate that there is very little chance of contamination, but we still clean them on a regular basis with medical grade cleaning supplies.
- For clinical contact surfaces and treatment room surroundings, we cover everything possible and wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes that are bactericidal, viricidal, fungicidal and tuberculocidal.