What Factors Influence Sterilization Effectiveness?

Sterilization is a procedure that no dentist can afford to take lightly. You must make sure that every instrument used inside the clinic is completely free of contamination, as it only takes only one minor oversight to transmit serious diseases. The health of your patients and your practice's reputation depend on following sterilization procedures properly.

At times, however, instruments can remain contaminated even after going through a cycle. Most cases of failed sterilization are a direct result of one of these factors:

  1. Cleaning - It is important clean all instruments before placing them in pouches, as they might still have protein and salt debris. If these are present, organisms can use them as protection against the sterilization.

  2. Packaging method - Improperly wrapping and sealing the instruments is something you need to avoid. Take the time to make sure that you have packaged everything properly before starting the cycle. With the use of self-sealing pouches, though, this is no longer much of a problem.

  3. Material choice - Your choice of sterilization products, specifically the pouch material, heavily influences how effective the procedure is. Using the wrong kind of packaging can prevent the sterilization agent from penetrating properly. Always check that you are using the right kind for the job and type of sterilizer being used.

  4. Loading - Overloading the packages in an attempt to save time is horribly misguided. This simply causes longer heat-up times, and will prevent the center of the load from being properly sterilized. You also need to watch out for packages placed too close to each other, as this is another thing that will hinder the sterilization agent.

  5. Autoclave - Finally, the autoclave itself is always an important factor. Most problems come from user error, such as incorrect operation or temperature setting. This results in an incomplete sterilization cycle, as the time or temperature are not enough to kill off all organisms.

Discount Disposables understands the importance of a thorough sterilization, which is why we stock only the best supplies for this purpose. When it comes to infection control, you can always count on us to deliver. Give us a call, and let us know about the specific needs of your practice.