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Disinfection and sterilization in dentistry

Дезинфекция и стерилизация в стоматологии


Эта же статья на русском — Дезинфекция и стерилизация в стоматологии

Sterilization as well as disinfection and hygiene are really important for our dental clinic. In fact, sanitation is one of the key rules that we always adhere to. Need! Especially considering the fact that in recent decades the urgency of the problem of nosocomial (and not only ;-)) infections is increasing all over the world.

This is facilitated by the high degree of bacterial contamination of dental facilities. Therefore, we understand your concern about this problem. After all, the doctor is forced to constantly closely contact patients during the treatment of teeth and gums. And be very serious about sanitary standards, so as not to bring an infection into the patient’s oral cavity. How to properly protect yourself? What methods of sterilization are the most modern and progressive? We will talk about this further.

Unfortunately, dentistry is one of those places where the risk of infection for both the patient and the doctor is very high. Therefore, our clinic is among those who not only care about the high level of dental services, but also about your health in general.

In order to protect both patients and medical staff, we adhere to strict sanitary and hygienic requirements for cleaning the dental instruments and accessories that we use. To do this, we carry out appropriate procedures for the destruction of various microbes, bacteria, viruses, fungi, on medical devices and equipment in contact with the patient during treatment.

Disinfection and sterilization in dentistry

Sterilization methods in dentistry. How are they chosen?

The processing of dental equipment and the dentist’s working tools is carried out in order to disinfect the products. Which method to disinfect each instrument depends on the risk of infection through it.


  • High risk category for transmission of infections. This is an instrument that comes in contact with the patient’s tissues and blood. It is also used to prepare injection solutions. These are forceps, a spatula, tweezers, burs, an elevator, etc. They are always and always sterilized with hydrogen peroxide, which is mixed with aldehyde and chlorine. Peracetic acid products are sometimes used.
  • Intermediate risk category. Tools that come into contact with the mucous membrane (but provided that there are no pathological elements on it) and when working with lacerated wounds on the skin. These include, for example, dental mirrors and other materials. In this case, both chemical disinfection and sterilization of dental instruments are carried out.
  • Low risk category. These are furniture, dental chair, doctor’s clothes – that is, objects and materials that come into contact only with the patient’s skin. In this case, disinfection of low intensity is quite suitable.

To prevent contamination with infections, surfaces to be disinfected must be thoroughly treated with appropriate disinfectants, including phenol, iodoform, chlorine-containing compounds, glutaraldehyde.

Disinfection and sterilization in dentistry

The most common and modern methods of processing instruments and equipment in the dental office

What types of disinfection and sterilization can we distinguish? Let’s briefly describe the main 4:

  • mechanical;
  • physical (thermal, steam, air);
  • chemical;
  • UV.

Mechanical processing method. It does not kill pathogens. But it is definitely necessary. What is related to this method? Wet cleaning, washing medical clothes and other reusable fabrics, ventilating the dental office. Mechanical disinfection must be carried out every day. She is the same in our clinic.

Physical sterilization. It is considered an environmentally friendly method. The main emphasis is on exposure to high temperatures (100 degrees and above).

There are the following ways:

  • термический (кипячение),thermal (boiling),
  • air (dry hot air),
  • steam (water saturated steam under pressure).

Chemical method. The second name is cold sterilization. This method is based on the use of chemicals and antiseptics. It effectively removes all kinds of viruses and bacteria. It is important to carry out the procedure under sterile conditions. The temperature of the “cold” method is 45-60 degrees. It is used for sterilizing products made of polymer materials, rubber, special glass, and metals that are not resistant to corrosion.

Ultraviolet method. Exposure with radiation is necessary to destroy microorganisms both in the air and on indoor surfaces. Also suitable for quick disinfection of instruments.

Disinfection and sterilization in dentistry

Основные этапы стерилизации стоматологических инструментовThe main stages of sterilization of dental instruments

After the patient has been treated, all dental instruments in the treatment area are considered contaminated. Even if they have not been used. Thus, it is necessary to carry out the entire cycle of processing procedures.

Key 5 steps that guide our dental practice.
  1. Training. Pre-treatment, collection, pre-cleaning and, if necessary, disassembly of the instrument.
  2. Disinfection (from French des – negation and Latin infectio – infection). This is the removal or destruction of pathogens of infectious diseases on medical devices, as well as in their channels and cavities, which can be carried out by various methods. All types of tools are subject to disinfection, including burs, tips, knives, elevators. All-metal elements are soaked in a special solution, and disinfecting wipes are used for the tips, which contain aggressive components. Disinfection can be performed manually or using special equipment for this purpose.
  3. Cleaning (pre-sterilization). All impurities and residues of medicinal preparations are removed from the instrument. This is done manually or mechanically. Manually: – rinsing tools under running water, – immersion in a washing solution, where it is washed with a brush or cotton-gauze swab, – rinse once more under running water to remove the detergent, – washing in distilled water One of the options for pre-sterilization cleaning of diamond-coated burs is the use of ultrasound. It takes 15 minutes. This treatment removes deep dirt, including those located in hard-to-reach places. The equipment does all the work for you in automatic mode. Also, this method provides a decrease in the incidence of infectious diseases. Important! Handpieces and similar instruments must not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner!
  4. Packaging. Relevant for the steam method. For packaging, special kraft bags with adjustable length, width and size are used. Or a packing machine.
  5. Sterilization and autoclaving. Destruction of all forms and types of microorganisms (including bacteria and their spores, fungi, viruses, prions). All products that come into contact with the wound surface and biological fluids, as well as certain types of medical instruments, which, when used, touch the mucous membrane and can cause damage, are subject to sterilization. The first way is in a dry heat cabinet. It uses dry hot air for sterilization (temperature – from 180 degrees and above). The second option is in an autoclave. It uses hot steam under pressure. The packed instruments are placed inside on a pallet. Next, set the required mode and temperature (about 125-135 degrees). And autoclaving mode automatically occurs.

The sterilized dental instrument is stored packed in a dry place.

Tools and components intended for single use are subject to mandatory disposal after use.


A number of rules apply in our clinic:

  1. All instruments are disinfected and sterilized.
  2. Saving tools in special craft packages.
  3. We do not wash our tools with our hands, but use a thermal disinfectant.
  4. We use a wide range of disposable instruments.
  5. We work exclusively in mittens, not with bare hands.
  6. The premises are cleaned every day. This type of treatment is usually called preventive disinfection.

In a separate paragraph, we will highlight that we also adhere to both the recommendations for dental clinics of the UAE Ministry of Health, and the guidelines on dental prevention and safety of the Dubai Health Authority.

All this is for the safety and health of our patients!

Come to us, we will be happy to help you with any dental problems 😉

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Evhenia Zykova
Evhenia Zykova

Dentist in Dubai

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