Adherence to recommended infection control protocols forms the cornerstone of a modern, safe dental practice. Prevention of cross infection is a critical part of our team’s day. It starts in the mornings when we run the daily validation tests on our ultrasonic instruments and autoclaves and clean our dental water lines. In between each patient, we decontaminate our treatment areas and move the instruments through to our sterilisation processing area.
Our Sterilisation Process
Record-keeping is an essential part of quality control. It provides the necessary documentation of sterilisation and includes vital information on the instruments processed. At the Dentist at 70 Pitt Street, all instruments and equipment are sterilised and the process recorded. We can track and trace each sterilisation batch that goes through our steriliser.
Our logs comprise of both digital and hard copy records with the following
- Time at the commencement of the steriliser cycle
- Cycle number in that day
- Cycle temperature and time parameters
- Nature of the load (numbers of packs, instrument cassettes, etc.)
- Batch numbers of packs included in that load (if any)
- Identification (signature or initials) of the loading operator
- Result of the autoclave physical readouts or printout for that cycle
- Result of the particular chemical indicators (Class 1, 4, 5 or 6) used in the cycle. This checking includes all external and internal chemical indicators; and
- Identification (signature or initials) of the unloading operator – the person who has checked the autoclave readouts and chemical indicator result, and who authorizes release of the load for use.
Sterilisation is critical to safe practice. Our whole practice is across our sterilisation process. Regular audits and training are undertaken.
Testing our Water Supply
At The Dentist at 70 Pitt Street, we test our water on a regular program and to date have never had reason to have a concern with our water supply.
In recent years the dental community’s attention has been drawn to contamination of dental unit waterlines. The presence of bacteria in waterlines has been recognised since 1957. However, at the time it was not considered that the numbers and types of micro-organisms were sufficient to present a significant health problem. This situation has now changed with well-documented cases of patients acquiring Legionella pneumophila and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections from dental treatment with contaminated waterlines.
Track and Tracing Instruments
At the Dentist at 70 Pitt Street, we track each cycle of instruments through our Autoclave. So we can identify which instruments were used on which patients and can verify that they have been sterilised. Each of our instruments you will see when you visit has a barcode identifier on it which links to our sterilisation system and from that we save it to your file.
Batch control identification (BCI) is used to link packs of instruments or individual items back to a particular autoclave cycle. BCI is not the same as tracing, which refers to being able to identify which individual instruments have been used on a particular series of patients, and gives the location of instruments at any one time.
We adhere to the following guidelines:
- Dental Board of Australia: Dental Guidelines on Infection Control www.dentalboard.gov.au
- Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare, published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2010 www.nhmrc.gov.au
- ADA’s Guidelines for Infection Control www.ada.org.au/Publications/guideinfectcont.aspx
- AS/NZS 4815 Office-based health care facilities – Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment, or as an alternative.
- AS/NZS 4187 Cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of associated environments in health care facilities www.saiglobal.com
- Hand Hygiene Australia www.hha.org.au
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care www.safetyandquality.gov.au