The most vital area of a dental practice is the one that you don’t see often – the steri room. This is the area where the contaminated dental instruments are cleaned, processed and sterilised for re-use. A perfectly normal practice that takes place everyday in clinics across the world, surely we’re in capable hands? Don’t worry, this blog will give you a run down on the sterilisation room operatives and if we are in capable hands.
There is an underestimated and somewhat hushed risk in the area of dentistry. To receive accreditation, a dentist must prove they are conducting their practice in adherence to industry standards. Critical to this is the expectation that all the staff will be trained to standard operating procedures, including those concerning reprocessing instruments, though this is not always the case.
When new employees begin work within a dental unit they will likely spend a large portion of their time in the sterlisation room learning the processes. Eventually, they will know how to operate the room but until that comes about there is often a buddy system in place where another clinician will supervise. An adequate method of training however during busy periods supervisors will leave new staff members to fend for themselves.
This training method gives the role with the greatest risk to the most inexperienced individual. Patients attend dental appointments fearing the pain and discomfort they will endure at the hands of the dentist when in reality this may not be the worst thing they experience. If non-sterile instruments make it into surgery, patients are at risk of being exposed to diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.
Outbreaks due to employee error
Even the smallest error can jeopardize the health of patients and staff. In 2009 a week passed before hospital employees realized non-sterilize dental instruments had been used on patients. A staff member had forgotten to turn on the autoclave and the slip-up potentially exposed more than 200 people to HIV and Hepatitis.
Sterlisation and precautionary methods such as indicator tags are all of extreme importance to the safe running of a dental clinic. Though none of these are effective when human error occurs. Overall the burden of sterilisation is placed on the employer. They must provide all employees with the necessary training to ensure understanding and diligence in their responsibilities when complying with health and safety laws. Training must be planned, systematic and assessed to properly determine ability before staff are deemed fit to perform such important tasks.
At Single Use Dental Instruments, our products are Pre-packed sterile, they arrive ready for you. Removing the need for sterlisation allows you to focus on what’s important – delivering high quality patient care. Ready to take a convenient approach to dentistry? Contact our team today!