This page contains questions about the process for Dental Decontamination.

Why is cleaning the instruments before sterilization so important?

The purpose of cleaning is to remove debris and reduce microbial load as far as possible before sterilization. Prions, unlike other potentially infective agents, are not destroyed by sterilization. It is therefore essential that instruments are cleaned effectively to ensure that there is no residual debris or contamination prior to sterilization.

Why do instruments need to be dry before they go into an autoclave?

If instruments are stored wet prior to sterilization, residual water is a potential breeding medium for residual microbes. Water droplets on instrument surfaces might also impede the sterilization process by not allowing effective steam penetration.

Why do we need to buy a washer disinfector?

Moving to an automated process is the recommended method for cleaning re-usable medical devices. The reasons for this are: to increase safety for staff who process the instruments; automated systems can be validated and tested to ensure that are consistently effective. Washer disinfectors will be the preferred automated system.

Do we need an ultrasonic cleaner?

There is no requirement to have an ultrasonic cleaner, however, they may be useful as an additional pre-cleaning stage prior to cleaning and disinfection in an automated washer disinfector.