My autoclave recommends sterilizing wrapped cassettes @ 250 degrees F (121 degrees C) @ 15 psi for 30 minutes; their recommended handpiece protocol is to sterilize hanpieces at 270 deg F @ 27.1 psi for 6 minutes....can I autoclave the hanpieces at the lower temperature / lower pressure / longer length cycle, along with the cassettes, safely, l without damaging the handpiece?
It is recommended that this question be directed to the manufacturer of the handpiece. They can advise you appropriately regarding their specific product. It is important to carefully comply with manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance. Failure to do so could potentially void the product warranty.
Additionally, Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team states as follows:
One should carefully follow the handpiece manufacturer’s directions for cleaning, lubricating, and heat processing, which is essential to achieve maximum longevity of the working parts. As with any decontamination process, one should wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, mask, protective eyewear or faceshield, and protective clothing during these procedures. Also, when flushing out cleaner or lubricant, one should spray into a vacuum line or container to avoid the spread of potentially contaminated aerosols. Handpiece cleaning equipment that automatically cleans, flushes, and captures the flushed aerosols is available. 1
1) Miller CH. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team, 5th edition. Elsevier/Mosby Publishers. Pages 146 & 147.