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



Should you sterilize burs in or out of a bur block and why?

The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry 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.

Additionally, OSAP states in its FAQ’s:

Like other contaminated disposable sharps, used burs should be discarded into sharps containers (1). Because dental burs are difficult to clean and are degraded by the sterilization process, dental offices should consider making burs a single use disposable item. 2

Further questions about burs (i.e., feasibility of sterilization and recommendations for reprocessing) should be directed to the manufacturer of the specific bur. The manufacturer's approved written instructions for use (IFU) can provide more detailed information regarding if the bur can be reprocessed. 


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 May 15, 2014.

2)     Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. FAQ for Sterilization.   Accessed on May 15, 2014. 





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