Being clean and keeping tidy is something that everyone should strive for. Sometimes activities such as eating outside of the home can be difficult for people because of their own standards of cleanliness that they aren’t able to control while in a new environment. No one is perfect and I know many people are a work in progress in this area but when it comes to the medical field; expectations of cleanliness are always very high…as they should be.
In the dental field, having a sterile environment and being able to control the risk and/or spread of any infection is the most important thing. Merivale Dental Centre ensures that this is our top priority by using heat sterilization for all tools and powerful disinfectants for everything else.
It can be a daunting thing when you are unsure of the cleanliness practices of a particular dental office. When left to our own devices (ie: googling everything) the Internet can be a powerful source for information that can be both educating and scary at the same time. The best way to put your mind at ease is to know the right questions to ask your dental professional if you are overly concerned about the cleanliness of their tools and surfaces. Here are some good questions you may consider asking:
Do you have a central instrument processing area?
An instrument processing area is a designated location where the cleaning and disinfecting of all tools is done. Having this area in place essentially keeps the remaining dental environment as clean and safe as possible. Smaller dental offices may not have a designated area for this, but as long as there is clear labeling for where all instruments are being sterilized then that is good too.
Are the tools being manually cleaned before being sterilized?
It is very important that the instruments that are being repeatedly used are first cleaned before they are sterilized. Over time and with constant use debris can accumulate on the devices. If not properly cleaned before sterilization, there can be serious repercussions on a microbial level.
The best time to ask these questions is always before you sit in the chair for the procedure. However, if you reach that point and feel uncomfortable about the overall cleanliness of instruments or otherwise, make sure you speak up and alert the professional of any concerns you have.