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6/2/2016 » 6/4/2016
2016 OSAP Annual Conference

Surface Disinfectants in Dentistry

OSAP Provides Clinical Contact Surface Disinfectant Resources - 2015


Clinical contact surfaces are directly touched by contaminated instruments, devices, hands, or gloves. Examples of clinical contact surfaces include light handles, switches, reusable containers of dental materials, countertops, and telephone handles. Use barriers to protect these surfaces from contamination during treatment, or clean and disinfect them between patients.


Because every practice setting is different, no one disinfectant is the best choice for every dental facility. Read disinfectant labels carefully andlook for the following:

  1. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number;
  2. That it is labeled as a "Hospital Disinfectant", i.e., germicide registered by the US EPA as effective against the test microorganisms Salmonella choleraesuis, Staphlococcus aureaus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa for use on nonliving objects in dental and medical facilities;
  3. Compatibility with surfaces, conditions of use and staff who will use it;
  4. Cleaning as well as disinfecting properties (for easier inventory management);
  5. Low allergenicity;
  6. Ease of use;
  7. Clear, easy-to-follow instructions;
  8. A reasonable contact time, i.e., 10 minutes or less;
  9. Acceptable storage and disposal requirements; and
  10. A reasonable use life and shelf life.

After reviewing the next section on "Using Chemical Disinfectants Safely", click on the green link below for the chart that captures the different classes of disinfecting chemicals available in dentistry. Note that each class has advantages and disadvantages.

The chart also lists the different products and label information that you can evaluate to select the product(s) that best serve the specific needs of your dental facility. OSAP also offers links to each product's label, MSDS, image and contact information for the manufacturer.


  1. Read and follow label instructions
  2. Read and maintain copy of Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
  3. Don appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), usually heavy duty gloves, face mask and protective apparel



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