Safety comes first for any doctor who is keen on sterilization, and sterilization of dental tools and equipment helps ensure that patients and clinic staff remain safe. Sterilization prevents the growth of bacteria on the tools that are being used, and on a number of surfaces. Sterilization practices ensure that germs in your mouth don’t make their way to anyone else.
What is the importance of sterilization in dental clinics?
When the dental team performs examinations or other procedures on patients, tools and equipment often come into contact with the patient’s saliva. Some dental procedures cause bleeding, exposing dental instruments to blood.
Microorganisms in a patient’s blood or saliva can carry bacteria and diseases, such as hepatitis, staphylococcus, herpes, tuberculosis, and strep. These bacteria and diseases can remain on unsterilized or poorly sterilized instruments and pass from one patient to another; Bacteria and diseases can also be passed from patients to employees who handle unsterilized or poorly sterilized instruments. In fact, some viruses, bacteria, and diseases can remain on surfaces for hours or days, and touching an exposed surface puts patients and staff at risk of disease.
Infections from improper sterilization practices can cause illness that can be serious or lead to complications, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. Breaching in equipment sterilization and cleaning operations can allow harmful bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Clostridium sordellii, and Salmonella, to remain on the surface of tools. Improper sterilization can also allow transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, C, and other infectious diseases. These infections and illnesses can cause serious illness and require additional medical attention.
Who sterilizes the dental clinic?
Usually, the dentist relies on his assistant in matters of sterilization and device safety. The physician assistant collects, cleans, and sterilizes instruments used after each cleaning or procedure according to CDC protocols and procedures established by the dental office. This is not the only job a physician assistant performs, but it is one of the most important. For the dentist, every trained hygienist and dentist should be able to identify equipment and instruments that have not been properly sterilized. This can be as simple as noticing open packaging or detecting telltale signs of instrument use. Although dentists rely on their assistants to ensure that a busy office runs smoothly, they must know the value of proper sanitization and do their best to implement these procedures in the office.
When you are sitting in a dental chair and getting ready for a dental cleaning or any procedure, you can rest assured knowing that there is no trace of bacteria from another patient on the instruments that enter your mouth. Thanks to necessary dental hygiene procedures, all instruments used during your visit are either brand new – or have been thoroughly cleaned so that there are no bacterial organisms from previous patients.