Ensuring your dental practice follows the strict procedures for decontamination of instruments is essential to running a safe, compliant practice. Due to its very nature, any dental equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised before re-using with another patient.

Decontamination refers to the process of sterilising instruments that are re-used within a dental practice. To ensure you adhere to legislation, there is a process that should be adopted within your dental practice.

Firstly though, let’s look at what is required to begin the process. You’ll need a fairly large area to ensure you can follow the process correctly. You’ll start with two washing and rinsing sinks, an area for inspection of cleaned products, a setting down area for dirty instruments, a suitable storage location, a hand washing sink and an area for packaging the instruments. You can save space and time by using one of our washer disinfectors!

It’s important that dirty and clean products are kept away from each other to reduce the risk of contamination. We recommend appointing a single person responsible for the process to ensure that all members of the team adhere to the infection control policy.

All instruments that come into contact with patients, whether orally or otherwise, much be cleaned and sterilised. Always play it safe, and even sterilise instruments that have been selected for use but not actually used.

Once you have the area, equipment and staff in place to implement the process, you can begin each step of decontamination of the dental equipment:

1)  Disinfection

The first stage of the process is to disinfect the instrument. This can be done by hand, but its much more efficient to use an approved and tested washer disinfector, such as the Deko D25. Using a washer disinfector will ensure complete cleanliness of the dental instruments, and is much more effective and efficient than washing by hand. Washer disinfectors include a disinfection cycle, meaning the instruments are then safe for the next part of the process, which is inspection.

2)  Inspection

Next, it’s time to inspect your newly disinfected dental equipment. It’s important to check instruments to ensure they are clean and they haven’t been damaged. Damaged instruments should either be fixed and re-cleaned, or alternatively thrown away. If the instrument isn’t clean, it will need to be disinfected once again, though this scenario should only happen if you have chosen to clean by hand.

3)  Sterilisation

Once the instruments have been cleaned and disinfected, its time to sterilise. By using autoclaving, the instruments can be steamed at high temperature, thus completely sterilising the equipment. Its important to not overcrowd the machine, as this may reduce the sterilisation effect of the steam. Therefore, ensure that the steam can circulate each instrument.

4)  Storage

Finally, you need to store the sterilised instruments in such a way that they don’t get contaminated before use. All instruments need to be stored in a dry, clean area, and within a covered container. Ensuring a clean environment for all your dental equipment will mean you don’t fall foul to any contamination issues later on when you come to use the instrument.

And there you have it. The complete process for Dental decontamination. Its important to follow this step every day, for all of your dental equipment. Not only does this create a pleasant environment for both your staff and your patients, but it also ensures you adhere to the strict guidelines. It also means you will have nothing to worry about when the inspector comes calling!

At Dekomed, we supply washer disinfectors that deliver outstanding cleaning performance and help maintain the safety and cleanliness of your re-usable dental equipment. Our equipment not only gets great results, but also reduces the time spent hand-cleaning individual instruments. View our range or get in touch.