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Sterilization In Dentistry: Why Is It So Important?

Disinfection is the process by which pathogens are eradicated or killed. However, sterilization is the chemical and physical process that aims to eliminate absolutely all microorganisms present in any object. That is why disinfection and sterilization are two fundamental pillars in the daily practice of dentistry. All dental material must be disinfected and subsequently sterilized in order to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases in dental procedures. All the staff that makes up a dental clinic must know these concepts and maintain a protocol of action, in addition to the protection itself, making use of the appropriate barriers such as gloves, gown, mask and protective glasses. Use should be made of disinfectant solutions used for cleaning surfaces, furniture and dental equipment that have been found in contact with the patient. Materials such as saliva vacuum cleaners, bibs for the patient, insulating cottons, gauze, needles, glasses and napkins belong to the range of disposable products of new use for each patient.

Sterilization in Dentistry: why is it so important?

Sterilization in Dentistry is the most important process of the protocols that are carried out in a clinic. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to this procedure, since its bad practice can lead to the spread of germs. In each surgical intervention the patient should keep a record of the sterilization process of the concrete material used in their operation. Normally, there are ten cycles that are performed daily in the clinic.


Within this protocol of sterilization in dentistry, different elements are involved:

  • Initial bath with disinfectant ultrasound: This is done before the staff touches anything, to avoid the risk that people working in the office become contaminated.
  • Autoclave: It is the essential step through which sterilization occurs when 134º is reached at a pressure of 2.10 atmospheres for 45 minutes. In addition, these devices perform a vacuum which allows water vapor to penetrate the most difficult places to access. Given the possibility that it could be damaged, two autoclaves should be running daily.
  • Biological control of sterilization: by incubating bacterial spores we verify that sterilization processes really “kill” the most resistant bacteria.
  • Chemical control of sterilization: in each cycle it ensures that the pressure and temperature conditions are the ones programmed and those that are effective for sterilization
  • Bagging: the bagging of the material allows us to store and maintain the sterilization conditions for a period of three months. To control this time, the date of sterilization appears on each bag.


The place where this procedure of sterilization is performed in dentistry for the elimination of microorganisms, is the sterilization cabinet. This is so that the biological material is not contaminated. This technique is typical of general anesthesia; however, it is not required.

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