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FAQ - Instrument Processing - 2014
 FAQ - Instrument Processing -  2014



I have a doctor that purchased a dishwasher to be utilized as an instrument washer. He provided an article as his rationale. Question: Is there any definitive documentation to counter his claim??

As the 2003 CDC infection control guidelines for dentistry states:

Considerations in selecting cleaning methods and equipment include 1) efficacy of the method, process, and equipment; 2) compatibility with items to be cleaned; and 3) occupational health and exposure risks. Use of automated cleaning equipment (e.g., ultrasonic cleaner or washer-disinfector) does not require presoaking or scrubbing of instruments and can increase productivity, improve cleaning effectiveness, and decrease worker exposure to blood and body fluids. Thus, using automated equipment can be safer and more efficient than manually cleaning contaminated instruments (253).1

A major difference between a residential style dishwasher as opposed to dental instrument washer-disinfectors is that the dental instrument washer-disinfectors are considered medical equipment and they are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Residential dishwashers are not designed to process medical or dental instruments, and they have not met FDA requirements. They also do not have warranties that cover dental instrument processing. Numerous problems can develop as a result of using a non-FDA approved residential dishwasher to process dental instruments, these include issues with unit cycles, instrument cleaning, and cleaning solutions.2

Further suggested reading includes:

Instrument washers not dishwashers  2

Dental Infection Control and Technology  3

Instrument Processing  4

Cleaning Instruments: A Critical Step to Instrument Reprocessing  5


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 February 10, 2014.

2)Molinari JA. Instrument washers not dishwashers. Dental Economics.   Accessed on February 10, 2014.

3) Cuny EJ. Dental Infection Control and Technology. Inside Dental Assisting.   Accessed on February 10, 2014.

4) Cuny E. Instrument Processing. Inside Dental Assisting.   Accessed on February 10, 2014.

5) Cuny EJ. Cleaning Instruments: A Critical Step to Instrument Reprocessing. Inside Dental Assisting.  . Accessed on February 10, 2014. 




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