Disinfection and sterilization is a never ending topic with dozens of things to talk and discuss about. Let us make this topic a little easy for ourselves to understand. Let us classify this topic and its methods in a way we can understand and practice in our dental offices.
By the dentist and
The staff Dental Instruments
The clinic area
We believe that even before instruments, the foundation of a clean dental operatory starts from the dentist and his/her working staff. The mindset of we dentists is very important and it is here where the ABC of dental hygiene starts, because once the awareness is installed it gets generated into the staff, and the rest of hygiene measures follow.
The dentist and his staff should be aware the infections that can be transmitted to the patient and as well as the infections acquired from the patient. Both are equally dangerous.
The following are some of the measures the dentist can take and teach the staff:
Liquid soaps should be used instead of bar soaps, which can harbor millions of organisms. A hand lotion such as sterilium should preferably be with a holder and a handle to hygienic use
2. The clinic area:
The clinic area that is to be cleaned starts not from the dental operatory only. It also includes the reception area, the waiting area, the wash room if present and the area just outside the clinic.
Covering parts of the dental chair such as handle, the light handle, and the x ray unit handle with aluminum foil or transparent cover which can be changed with every patient. This will definitely reduce cross contamination.
Once gloves are donned, they should not touched anywhere other than on the instruments and the patient’s mouth. Whenever any other contact becomes necessary, such as opening drawers, operating the mouse of the computer to record tooth details, transparent gloves are available which can be put over the operating gloves to handle, like below.
3. Dental instruments-
This is the most important part of our classification because however clean we are and the clinic is, if the instruments that enter the mouth are not cleaned the way they should be, then the basics will be violated.
An important line from a book says “do not disinfect what you can sterilize”.
Things that are to be sterilized will not become bacteria free by disinfection. Nor are things to be used for one time should be reutilized!
The basic aim of this article on dental hygiene is to make ourselves sure that we have to constantly stick to our basics. This if done, will definitely ensure cleanliness, patient related hygiene, prevent cross contamination and will always make your patients feel comfortable sitting on your dental chair and getting operated.
(The above article is the opinion and thoughts of the owner, and may or may not be theoretically accurate.)