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FAQ - Instruments & Equipment - 2015
 FAQ  - Instruments & Equipment - 2015



What are people using to clean and disinfect some of the different digital scanners and intraoral cameras that are used in dentistry?

The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry addresses intraoral cameras that come in contact with mucous membranes that are considered semicritical devices:

Digital radiography sensors and other high-technology instruments (e.g., intraoral camera, electronic periodontal probe, occlusal analyzers, and lasers) come into contact with mucous membranes and are considered semicritical devices. They should be cleaned and ideally heat-sterilized or highlevel disinfected between patients. However, these items vary by manufacturer or type of device in their ability to be sterilized or high-level disinfected. Semicritical items that cannot be reprocessed by heat sterilization or high-level disinfection should, at a minimum, be barrier protected by using an FDA cleared barrier to reduce gross contamination during use. Use of a barrier does not always protect from contamination (369– 374). One study determined that a brand of commercially available plastic barriers used to protect dental digital radiography sensors failed at a substantial rate (44%). This rate dropped to 6% when latex finger cots were used in conjunction with the plastic barrier (375). To minimize the potential for device-associated infections, after removing the barrier, the device should be cleaned and disinfected with an EPA registered hospital disinfectant (intermediate-level) after each patient. Manufacturers should be consulted regarding appropriate barrier and disinfection/sterilization procedures for digital radiography sensors, other high-technology intraoral devices, and computer components.1

The obvious differentiating factor appears to be if the device can in any way be classified as a semicritical device or if it is capable of becoming contaminated or is subject to cross-contamination.

Ask OSAP does not review, evaluate, certify, recommend or endorse products. Ask OSAP also does not provide technical support for specific products. If you have further questions about procedures with digital scanners and/or intraoral cameras it is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer’s written instruction manual and/or contact the manufacturer of the product directly. The manufacturer can best advise you regarding the use and maintenance of their product (i.e., instructions for use - IFU). Failure to comply with the manufacturer’s  IFU can potentially void the product warranty.


1)     Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61.    Accessed on October 19, 2015.




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