The most important reason dental clinics should have proper sterilization monitoring is to ensure safety in patient care and that there is no chance of infectious diseases spreading through dental instruments. It is also mandatory to have an effective system in place for sterilization monitoring to adhere to provincial and national standards.
Biological indicators are the most accepted means of sterilization monitoring. The reason for the use of these tests is that the biological process determines whether the toughest micro-organisms are present on the instruments. The spores used in the test are the more resilient and outnumber microbial containments found on dental instruments.
Biological indicators or spore testing should be done at least on a weekly basis. By doing this, it ensures the correct functioning of sterilization cycles. Weekly testing is the minimum frequency that testing should be performed, additional testing should be performed when a new type of packaging or tray is used, training a new staff member, or when the sterilizer has been repaired or you have implemented a change in the sterilizer procedure.
The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario Standards of Practice state that “Dental hygienists have an obligation to their clients to establish and maintain practice environments that have organizational structures, policies and resources in place that are consistent with legal, professional and ethical responsibilities that promote safety, respect and support for all persons within the practice setting.” This can be accomplished by ensuring current infection protocols are performed correctly and to monitor any trends that may appear to be emerging in the industry.
If you have any questions or concerns about sterilization monitoring or the infection control plan at your clinic, do not hesitate to contact the experts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-800-847-3160.