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FAQ - Instrument Processing - 2015
 FAQ  - Instrument Processing - 2015

 

 

How are endodontic files processed for sterilization? Please provide any other information pertaining to endodontics.

Regarding endodontic files, Ask OSAP would like to reference the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry. It states as follows:

Because of the physical construction of certain devices (e.g., burs, endodontic files, and broaches) cleaning can be difficult. In addition, deterioration can occur on the cutting surfaces of

some carbide/diamond burs and endodontic files during processing (384) and after repeated processing cycles, leading to potential breakage during patient treatment (385–388). These factors, coupled with the knowledge that burs and endodontic instruments exhibit signs of wear during normal use, might make it practical to consider them as single-use devices. 1

Additionally, OSAP states in its FAQ’s:

Q What are the recommendations on sterilization –vs- single use of endodontic files, rasps, drills, and burs?

A OSAP would like to refer you directly to the Center's For Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Dental Healthcare Settings. In part, the guidelines state the following:

A single-use device, also called a disposable device, is designed to be used on one patient and then discarded, not reprocessed for use on another patient (e.g., cleaned, disinfected, or sterilized). Single-use devices in dentistry are usually not heat-tolerant and cannot be reliably cleaned. Examples include syringe needles, prophylaxis cups and brushes, and plastic orthodontic brackets. Certain items (e.g., prophylaxis angles, saliva ejectors, high-volume evacuator tips, and air/water syringe tips) are commonly available in a disposable form and should be disposed of appropriately after each use. Single-use devices and items (e.g., cotton rolls, gauze, and irrigating syringes) for use during oral surgical procedures should be sterile at the time of use.

Because of the physical construction of certain devices (e.g., burs, endodontic files, and broaches) cleaning can be difficult. In addition, deterioration can occur on the cutting surfaces of some carbide/diamond burs and endodontic files during processing and after repeated processing cycles, leading to potential breakage during patient treatment. These factors, coupled with the knowledge that burs and endodontic instruments exhibit signs of wear during normal use, might make it practical to consider them as single-use devices. 2

Further questions about endodontic files (i.e., feasibility of sterilization and recommendations for processing) should be directed to the manufacturer of the specific endodontic file.

Resources

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. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm    Accessed on July 8, 2015.

2)     Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. FAQ for Sterilization. http://www.osap.org/?page=FAQ_Instrum_Ster2#whatarethe    Accessed on July 8, 2015. 

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