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

 

 

My question is in regard to the storage of endo files. As critical instruments, I understand that endo files should be stored wrapped. Yet, every endodontist I have encountered stores their files unwrapped. Most are organized according to file size in sponges or foam--which are open in drawers. When I have inquired about this, the response is that it is impractical to store these as wrapped as it is impossible to predict which files and how many might be necessary for any given procedure. I realize that the endo specialty is moving toward single-use files--which would eliminate this storage concern. 

Ask OSAP can provide you with some general information on this topic. However, any questions about endodontic file reuse and storage should be directed to the product manufacturer. The manufacturer should be able to provide further information regarding if the product was approved for reprocessing and any storage considerations.

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, recommendations for processing, storage considerations, etc.) should be directed to the manufacturer of the specific product.

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 August 10, 2015.

2)     Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. FAQ for Sterilization. http://www.osap.org/?page=FAQ_Instrum_Ster2#whatarethe    Accessed on August 10, 2015. 

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