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FAQ - Miscellaneous - 2014
 FAQ -  Miscellaneous  -  2014



My colleagues and I are having a discussion regarding reprocessing and sterilization of sharpening stones for periodontal instruments. Do you have any information available on this topic?

There are various types of sharpening stones available for use. There are also sharpening devices, and even sharpening services. Because there are various options available to sharpen dental instruments, it is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer of the specific type sharpening stone/sharpening device that you are using regarding its use and maintenance. It is important to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for processing specific types of sharpening stones. Failure to do so could possibly render the product warranty void. 

In general, the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry states the following regarding patient-care items:


Sterilization and Disinfection of Patient-Care Items

Patient-care items (dental instruments, devices, and equipment) are categorized as critical, semicritical, or noncritical, depending on the potential risk for infection associated with their intended use (Table 4) (242). Critical items used to penetrate soft tissue or bone have the greatest risk of transmitting infection and should be sterilized by heat. Semicritical items touch mucous membranes or nonintact skin and have a lower risk of transmission; because the majority of semicritical items in dentistry are heat-tolerant, they also should be sterilized by using heat.
If a semicritical item is heat-sensitive, it should, at a minimum, be processed with high-level disinfection (2). 1

Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team further states:

Instrument Sharpening

Instrument sharpening is difficult to manage from an infection control point of view. Sharpening of contaminated instruments presents a risk for disease spread through accidental cuts or punctures. The greatest safety is achieved by cleaning, sterilizing, sharpening, and resterilizing the instruments. If instruments (i.e., scalers) need to be resharpened while being used on a patient, the best (and safest) option is to provide several scalers in each instrument setup rather than to sharpen contaminated scalers. If one must sharpen instruments at chairside, one should provide cleaned and sterilized sharpening stones for each patient. One must take great care when sharpening a contaminated instrument and should consider taping the sharpening stone to the countertop and using one hand to sharpen the instrument. 2

Any time that a sharpening stone is used with contaminated instruments it must be cleaned and heat sterilized between patients.

Additionally, a Google search using the terms sharpening stone, sterilization and infection control yielded the following resources which you may find helpful:

Sharpening Instruments Chairside Safely and Aseptically

The Periodontic Syllabus,+sterilization&source=bl&ots=6e2mzAcZX6&sig=8BYtxYK0l_YplD6X46w

Fundamentals of Periodontal Instrumentation & Advanced Root Instrumentation,+sterilization&source=bl&ots=3frl8W_xel&sig=K-vJkrgFvlkDnmKY-Y3rViBBOlg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GSxMU9S6BaXksAT52YHgAw&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=sharpening%20stone%2C%20sterilization&f=false 

Other Infection Control Questions 


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 April 14, 2014.

2)     Miller CH. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team, 5th edition. Elsevier/Mosby Publishers. Page 143.




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