Dental assistants work with dental instruments daily, and those instruments need to remain clean to avoid the risk of contaminating a patient. There are industry standard processes for sterilization and cleaning in the dentistry industry that students in dental assistant training will learn during their comprehensive course work. Since some of these instruments are used and re-used with various patients, instrument sterilization is of the utmost importance to ensuring good dental practice.
Read on to discover what methods of dental instrument sterilization are used today.
Pros in Dental Assistant Careers Know the Transport of Instruments is Very Important
The majority of dental offices have a designated area for instrument reprocessing which is separated from dental treatment rooms in the dental office. This is because sterilizing and storing instruments in the same room where treatment is provided increases the risk of cross-contamination.
It should also be noted that professionals with dental assistant careers sometimes use single-use items such as blades and needles that need to be disposed of right then and there, directly after use. Disposable instruments that are sharp are discarded into a special container made for these dangerous objects and those that do not pose risks are thrown directly into the trash. Lastly, any instruments that are going to be reused should be taken to the sterilization and cleaning area for processing.
In Dental Assistant Training You’ll Learn All About Cleaning Instruments ‘Ultrasonically’
Most practices have two types of instrument cleaning tools, namely an ultrasonic cleaner, and instrument washer. An ultrasonic cleaner uses sound waves in order to sterilize instruments. The sound waves that are used are outside the human hearing range and form tiny moving bubbles in a process called ‘cavitation.’ The bubbles begin to break down debris and remove it. There are also specialized detergents used for rinses in the ultrasonic baths. In dental assistant training you may learn that as a dental assistant, youa��ll have to choose which cleaning agent will be used in the ultrasonic bath. Different cleaners are appropriate for different types of instruments, which is why youa��ll need to carefully select the right cleaning agent when prepping the machine for instrument cleaning.
Students in Dental Assistant Training Should Know How to Operate an Instrument Washer
Instrument washers use detergent and hot water in order to clean instruments. These machines have been used for a long time both in hospitals and in dental facilities in order to clean instruments properly. These devices resemble a regular dishwasher; instruments are placed in a basket or instrument storing device to run through a cleaning and drying cycle, which properly sterilizes them. These machines also require regular cleaning in order to function properly.
Whether you’re transporting, cleaning sonically, or using an instrument washer, the maintenance of sterile instruments is essential to ensure the health and safety of both yourself and the patients under your care.
Want to learn more about instrument sterilization and how to handle instruments in a dental assistant program?
Contact an advisor today to find out more!