Are Sterilization Lamps Worth the Investment?
There are several different types of dental office sterilization equipment, and each one has its benefits and drawbacks. It’s important for dental practices to take a closer look at their sterilization methods to be sure that they are using a one that is not only a good investment, but one that is able to consistently satisfy all federal requirements. To pick the system that’s right for you, it’s necessary to weigh the advantages and disadvantages as well the effect on the type of dental instruments you use the most.
Different types of dental office sterilization equipment
Ultrasonic cleaning systems
According to Infection Control Today, three minutes of ultrasonic exposure can remove more than 99.9 percent of blood on instruments that have been contaminated. It’s an ideal method for sterilizing pieces that have hinges, joints and other internal surfaces. An ultrasonic cleaning system reduces your contact with contaminated instruments in order to reduce the chances of cross infection.
These systems clean by using an ultrasonic cleaning liquid and intense vibrations to remove all debris from dental instruments. In addition, they have the added benefit of cleaning both loose instruments and those in sterilization cassettes. We offer one of these countertop ultrasonic cleaning system with both a deep basket and plier rack stand. We also sell an ultrasonic cleaning solution.
As dental practices continue to look for more efficient sterilization methods that are both affordable and satisfy all federal requirements, sterilization lamps have made their way into the spotlight. While these lamps have several wonderful benefits, it’s important to realize they may be most effective as part of a comprehensive sterilization process instead of a solution within themselves.
Instead of using heat to clean tools, sterilization lamps use ultraviolet wavelengths to destroy the DNA of bacteria by removing its ability to reproduce. The germicidal range of UV light is rated from UV-A to UV-C with UV-C the type with the most germicidal qualities. Hospitals have benefitted from these lamps because the lamps kill bacteria and viruses more easily than traditional techniques.
However, there is a disadvantage to using sterilization lamps: While UV lights easily kill bacteria and viruses, they aren’t as effective against bacterial spores. Therefore, its overall effectiveness is dependent upon the type of organic matter and microorganism you seek to eliminate, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC also found after postoperative wound studies in five university medical centers, the overall wound infection rate was unaffected by UV radiation. UV lamps should not be used in isolation rooms—the CDC states that no data supports this use. In fact, using these UV lamps in this manner has caused one epidemic of UV-induced keratonconjunctivis and skin erythema in both patients and visitors.
When considering a sterilization lamp, it’s important to review how the CDC defines the difference between disinfecting and sterilizing:
“Disinfection destroys most pathogenic and other microorganisms by physical or chemical means. In contrast, sterilization destroys all microorganisms, including substantial numbers of resistant bacterial spores, by heat (steam autoclave, dry heat, and unsaturated chemical vapor) or liquid chemical sterilants. Disinfection does not ensure the degree of safety associated with sterilization processes.”
Research is still ongoing into all the practical applications of sterilization lamps, and studies following the results of their applications are still being published. While these lamps would be a welcome addition to many practices, it’s important to acknowledge their disadvantages as well before investing in them for your dental practice.
Dry heat sterilization
This remains one of the most popular and effective methods of sterilization. One of its main benefits is that it prevents corrosion of metallic instruments and has excellent penetration, according to the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).
These sterilizers, such as this one also offer the following advantages:
- Because it uses an inert process, it doesn’t damage instruments with hinges
- It does not damage non-stainless components
- The cool down cycle means employees can immediately handle the instruments after sterilization
- This cool-to-cool cycle is less than 40 minutes
- They can handle larger loads (ours can contain 36 pliers)
If you order this product from us, we also include a FREE accessory kit that contains plier loading racks.
What do the manufacturer’s instructions dictate?
Certain tools require different methods of cleaning. This, along with the effectiveness of the sterilization technique, should be the guiding factors in determining which product would be the best economical investment.
Diatech has the latest dental office sterilization equipment
For decades, we’ve demonstrated the highest standards of personalized customer service and quality products, including a wide range of quality, state-of-the-art sterilization equipment. We invite you to see what makes a Diatech product different.
At Diatech, we manufacture superior and innovative products for the dental industry… for the dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, orthodontist, endodontist and lab technician. We stand behind our promise of uncompromised quality and the best in competitive pricing.
Alewelt, Abigail, RDH. “UV Germicidal Irrigation in Dental and Medical Settings as a Method of Sterilization.” Today’s RDH. Online.
Centers for Disease Control. “Guidelines/ Disinfection Methods.” Online.