Sterilization FAQ’s

Infection Control Standards and Protocols and Frequently Asked Questions:

What should a patient look for in an oral surgery office for assurance that the staff are taking proper precautions to prevent cross-infection?

We practice all of the current surgical infection control recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Dental Association (ADA), and Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). We practice these standards of infection control daily, even prior to this virus. We treat everything to the highest standards for our patients and employee’s safety.

1) Do you heat-sterilize instruments and surgical handpieces between patients?

In keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dental Association, and Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention recommendations, we sterilize all instruments that penetrate or contact a patient’s oral tissues. We use Autoclaves to heat-sterilize instruments that have been used on a patient before they are introduced to treat the next patient. All of our surgical instruments are designed to withstand repeated heat sterilization. Items that cannot be sterilized are disposable. We use hospital-level disinfection in all areas in our office to destroy pathogens, and our team is highly trained in these protocols.

2) How do you know that the sterilizer is working properly?

Our practice uses a variety of methods to ensure that the office sterilizer is doing its job. In addition to monitoring the autoclave sterilizer’s gauges and readouts for proper temperature and pressure, we wrap and seal instruments in packaging equipped with a chemical that changes color on exposure to heat and sterilizing conditions. These color-change indicators also help to identify instrument packages that have been sterilized, so there’s no chance that contaminated instruments could inadvertently be selected to treat a patient. In addition, we routinely test our sterilizers using a vial containing spores. Called biologic monitoring, these prepared, sealed spore strips go through a sterilization cycle. Then these vials are sent in so that culturing the spores ensures they have been killed. This is the highest guarantee that a sterilizer is functioning and being utilized properly.
We use this biologic monitoring weekly in combination with color-change indicators on each instrument packet and monitoring of the sterilizer gauges and readouts.

3) Do you change your gloves for every patient?

We use new gloves for each and every patient and will also don a new mask as well as wear protective eyewear and splash resistant faceshields and barrier drapes.

4) Do you disinfect the surfaces in the operatory between patients?

Between patients, we disinfect all the surfaces touched during treatment and all surfaces in the treatment rooms. This eliminates the possibility of transferring germs from a contaminated surface to the patient.

We understand our patients’ concerns, and can assure you that we do everything possible to ensure our patients and staff are fully protected against all pathogens. Because of our high standards of infection control, we feel safer here than anywhere else! We take pride in our high level of prevention of the spread of disease.