| FAQ - Sterilization - Archived Through 2012
Can we set up the instrument tray before the patient arrives and cover everything with a disposable napkin?
While each dental office must determine what is best for its practice setting, infection control experts recommend that sterile packs, packages, and/or cassettes remain sealed until the patient arrives.
Once sterile instruments are removed from the packages, they can become contaminated. Keeping them wrapped until use maintains sterility. Also, patients are better educated today concerning infection control procedures in dentistry. Opening sterile packages in front of them provides the assurance that instruments are sterile. Further, if a patient fails to arrive for an appointment, any instruments/packages opened in advance would need to be repackaged and sterilized again, even though they were not used.