Dental Instrument Sterilization Methods

dental treatment room

There are many different types of dental instrument sterilization methods. At Rigby Advanced Dental, we care about patient safety so we make sure to disinfect all of our dental tools and equipment using state-of-the-art dental sterilization technology.

Before sterilization, dental professionals soak instruments in water or a disinfectant to keep anything from drying on them. They also apply a rust inhibitor to prevent rusting of the instruments.

Here the various types of sterilization methods used throughout the years:

Autoclave

In 1879, Charles Chamberland came up with the autoclave, which is one of the most common sterilizers used to this day. It looks like a heavy microwave, and it sterilizes by heating moist air up to temperatures from 250°F to 273°F. The chemicals and heat can slightly wear down the materials, which afterwards have to dry.

Dry Heat

With this method, the air is drier so the process takes hours. The materials are placed in an oven-like object where the temperature rises to 320°F. The materials remain there for one to two hours. Because it isn’t wet, this process doesn’t wear down instruments.

SuperHeated Steam

This method is the same as the dry heat method but there is nearly no humidity and the temperature is 180°F. This process takes 30 minutes to complete.

Rapid Heat Transfer

This method sterilizes at about 375°F for 6 to 20 minutes and circulates heated air throughout the unit. At the end of the cycle, the instruments are dry.

Unsaturated Chemical Vapor Sterilizer

Here the temperature stays at 270°F for 20 minutes, and instruments dry quickly after the cycle.

There are many ways to sterilize instruments. Most differ in time and heat, but the end result is the same, immaculate instruments. Contact us if you have any questions about the sterilization methods we use. We’ll clean your teeth as thoroughly as we do our equipment!