Disease Control

We have covered Dental Emergencies, Fluoride, Fear control, and Tooth colored filings in previous newsletters. This newsletter is a little different. This is an update of a newsletter I wrote in 1987, on disease control. As you no doubt have noticed, there is a continued and growing concern about AIDS. On a recent addition of the TV program, Street Stories, it was noted that most dentists do not steam sterilize their handpieces. We do steam sterilize all our hand pieces between every patient. This is now required of all dentists in the State of Washington.

Our office has attended three courses concerning this problem and have periodic office meetings to update our skills. The precautions we have always taken of sterilizing instruments were recommended at these courses. At that time of the first course, 10 years ago, we also started wearing a new pair of surgical gloves with each patient, a mask and a pair of protective glasses. In addition we are now wearing plastic backed, long sleeved gowns.

Exactly how do we handle our instruments? We use "one use" disposable equipment when possible. All our needles, bibs, tray covers, anesthetic cartridges, rubber dam, and gloves are disposed of after each patient. Our metal and plastic instruments are sterilized in Cidex, a chemical that kills all bacteria and viruses. Next they are put in an ultrasonic cleaner. They then are scrubbed by hand. The metal instruments and handpieces are then autoclaved (cooked in a pressure cooker type sterilizer). The plastic ones are again soaked in Cidex. After this treatment they all are sterile.

As you can see everything we use is either new - unused - or it has been sterilized since its last use. With these precautions you are protected and so are we. If you should have any other questions, call and we will be happy to answer them. Back to newsletter index