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Ensure Proper Infection Control

Today’s oral health professionals work with a variety of rapidly changing technologies during the delivery of patient care. Understanding how to manage technology in the dental setting requires knowledge and application of infection control guidelines, including manufacturer instructions for use. Knowledge of current manufacturer instructions for use is critical in the reprocessing cycle. If not carried out in accordance with these procedures, items could pose an infection control risk. Typical failures with infection control compliance regarding technology include improper cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization.


Dental instruments are categorized into three levels related to sterilization: critical, semicritical, and noncritical.

Sterilizing medical instruments in autoclave oneblink-cj / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Which of the following is a semicritical instrument?

Dental equipment PashaIgnatov / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Sterilization refers to a process that kills all living microorganisms, including bacterial spores, by one of three methods: heat, gas, or chemical.

A conceptual 3D render of a flow of purple virus cells in a magnified organic environment. matejmo / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Different types of surfaces in various settings require the same level of disinfection.

cleaning spray bottle symbol Hendry Wijayanto / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Low-level disinfectants are effective against which organisms?

salmonella bacteria 3d illustration urfinguss / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Barriers are placed on clean surfaces at the beginning of the day and changed between patients.

System protection from viruses and attacks. Natali_Mis / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Heat sterilization is required for semicritical items whenever possible; however, many devices have a combination of critical and noncritical components that cannot withstand heat sterilization.

Stop bacterium sign with cute cartoon gems in flat style isolated on white background. Alert circle symbol for antibacterial products. Art vector illustration Verock / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Care must be taken when disinfecting mice and keyboards to avoid electrical shock and to maintain the electrical components, but disinfectants are effective.

blue cloth and black computer keyboard anaken2012 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Plastic barriers should be used, along with a disinfectant containing less than what percentage of alcohol on portable handheld radiography units?

Woman in rubber gloves using spray cleaner on counter, close up. solidcolours / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Ensure Proper Infection Control
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This information is from the article “Technology-Related Infection Control Challenges” by Kandis V. Garland, RDH, MS and Crystal Kanderis Lane, RDH, BS, MS. To read the article, click here.
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