Sterilization is at the forefront of technology in a dental office.
For many years there have been a number of quality units to sterilize equipment.
Autoclaves, Chemical-steam vapor units, and Dri-claves to name a few get the job done.
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State health organizations have guidelines regarding the way instruments are sterilized by a variety of different sterilization units.
By law it is mandatory to have authorized evaluation of sterilization units weekly.
Units are monitored with a spore test designated according to specifications of the sterilizing machine used by the practitioner.
Each week a packet is opened with two spore samples enclosed.
One of the samples is placed inside the unit specific to a particular brand name registered to a healthcare provider or clinic.
The control sample is left inside the packet untouched to serve as a control for the sterilization evaluation.
After the sample placed inside of the unit has been sterilized along with surgical instruments, it is placed back inside of the envelope and mailed to a monitoring company for evaluation.
A clinic equipped to provide emergency dental care receives feedback from the monitoring agency to keep the public safe.
If a clinic changed from an Autoclave, using steam to a Dri-clave a high heat unit, the test strips must also be changed to match the unit it is to monitor.
Modern medicine has come a long way since the boiling of instruments as a way to sterilize them.
Patients enter surgery suites in our hospital operating rooms and take note of the tremendous preparation required before staff can contact the patient.
With sterilized instruments and sanitized hands covered with gloves and gowns, masks worn to control oral and nasal microbes, eye shields, head and feet coverings, where are we falling short?
The current frontier has started to tackle the air we all breathe in surgery suites.
Ionization units when large enough can remove 99.99% of foreign particles in the air.
A 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite, one half part bleach and one half part water will kill any pathogens on hard surfaces including counter tops, walls and floors.
Can this technology become cost effective for utilization similar to the safety we experience with monitoring of the sterilization process for surgical instruments?
Only time will tell if we are able to effectively sterilize the air in a surgery suite.
Some hospitals have already made investments in this technology.
Working in hospital settings will give you an opportunity to see first hand the steps taken to sterilize and sanitize an operating room before each surgery.
In one of the most sanitized environments in the hospital, patients still contract Staph infections.
Sterilization procedures in surgical suites should also consider Ionization units to reduce the growth of pathogens.
From the Diary of my enlightenment,
Artis L. Clark, D.D.S. http://dentist4you.biz