Sterilization and Cleanliness Policies at our Dentist's Office

We exceed OSHA requirements and conduct OSHA training every year.

We have a modern sterilization system that surpasses OSHA requirements and we conduct OSHA training every year.

Surpassing OSHA Requirements

The source of water in all dental units is distilled water. This prevents scaling and any bacterial contamination from town water. We monitor our sterilization machines constantly to insure proper temperatures. Our treatment rooms are disinfected and sanitized between every appointment.

To protect our patients and ourselves, our staff wears masks, safety goggles and gloves. Our gloves are latex free and we offer each patient a pair of darkened safety glasses to protect their eyes from debris and air borne particles. Whenever possible, we use single use disposable items.

We recycle all our paper and plastic products and use energy efficient lights.

Our Sterilization and Cleanliness Guidelines

Personal Protective Equipment

Surgical Facemasks

Health care workers wear surgical facemasks in combination with either chin length plastic face shields or protective eyewear when treating patients whenever there is potential for splashing or spattering. After each patient, and during patient treatment if applicable, masks are changed. After each patient, face shields and protective eyewear shall be cleaned and disinfected.


Health care workers wear reusable or disposable protective attire when their clothing or skin is likely to be soiled. Gowns must be changed daily or between patients if it should become moist or visibly soiled. Protective attire must be removed when leaving laboratories or areas of patient care activities. Reusable gowns are laundered in accordance with Bloodborne Pathogens Standards on premises.

Hand Hygiene

Health care workers shall wash contaminated or visibly soiled hands with soap and water and put on new gloves before treating each patient. If hands are not visibly soiled or contaminated an alcohol based hand rub may be used as an alternative to soap and water.

If Healthcare workers have exudative lesions or weeping dermatitis of the hand, they shall refrain from all direct patient care and from handling patient care equipment until the condition resolves.


Medical exam gloves are worn whenever there is a potential for contact with mucous membranes, blood or OPIM. Gloves are discarded upon completion of treatment and before leaving laboratories or areas of patient care activities. Healthcare workers perform hand hygiene procedures after removing and discarding gloves. Medical exam gloves are not washed before or after use.

Sterilization and Disinfection

Heat and Vapor Sterilization

Heat stable critical and semi-critical instruments are cleaned and sterilized before use by using steam under pressure (autoclaving), dry heat, or chemical vapor. FDA cleared chemical sterilants/disinfectants are used for sterilization of heat-sensitive critical items and for highlevel disinfection of heat-sensitive semi-critical items.

Critical and semi-critical instruments or containers of critical and semi-critical instruments sterilized by a heat or vapor method are packaged or wrapped before sterilization if they are not to be used immediately after being sterilized. These packages or containers remain sealed unless the instruments within them are placed onto a setup tray and covered with a moisture impervious barrier on the day the instruments will be used, and are stored in a manner so as to prevent contamination.

All high-speed dental hand pieces, low-speed hand piece components used intraorally, and other dental unit attachments such as reusable air/water syringe tips and ultrasonic scaler tips, are heat-sterilized between patients.

Single Use Instruments

Single use disposable instruments (e.g. prophylaxis angles, prophylaxis cups and brushes, 3 tips for high-speed evacuators, saliva ejectors, air/water syringe tips) are used for one patient only and discarded.

Needles are recapped only by using the scoop technique or a protective device. Needles are never bent or broken for the purpose of disposal. Disposable needles, syringes, scalpel blades or other sharp items and instruments are placed into sharps containers for disposal according to all applicable regulations.

Sterilization Maintenance

Proper functioning of the sterilization cycle is verified at least weekly through the use of a biological indicator (such as a spore test). Test results are maintained for 12 months.


Sterile coolants/irrigants are used for surgical procedures involving soft tissue or bone. Sterile coolants/irrigants are delivered using a sterile delivery system.


If items or surfaces likely to be contaminated are difficult to clean and disinfect they shall be protected with disposable impervious barriers.

All clinical contact surfaces that are not protected by impervious barriers are cleaned and disinfected using a EPA registered, hospital grade, low- to intermediate-level disinfectant after each patient. The low-level disinfectants used are labeled effective against HBV and HIV.

Disinfectants are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All housekeeping surfaces (e.g. floors, walls, sinks) are cleaned with a detergent that is an EPA registered hospital grade disinfectant.

Dental unit water lines shall be anti-retractive. At the beginning of each workday, dental unit lines are purged with air, or flushed with water for at least two (2) minutes prior to attaching handpieces, scalers and other devices. The dental unit line is flushed between each patient for a minimum of twenty (20) seconds.

Contaminated solid waste is disposed of according to applicable Rowan County, North Carolina, and Federal Environmental Standards.

Lab Areas

Splash shields and equipment guards are used on dental laboratory lathes. Fresh pumice and a disinfected, sterilized, or new ragwheel is used for each patient. Devices used to polish, trim or adjust contaminated intraoral devices are disinfected or sterilized.

Intraoral items such as impressions, bite registrations, prosthetic and orthodontic appliances are cleaned and disinfected with an intermediate-level disinfectant before manipulation in the laboratory and before placement in the patient’s mouth. Such items are thoroughly rinsed prior to placement in the patient’s mouth.