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FAQ - Instrument Processing - 2016
 FAQ - Instrument Processing - 2016



We are in the process of investigating the use of DRY HEAT for sterilization of our orthodontic instruments and need clarification on these 2 items: 1. Do hinged instruments (e.g.: ortho pliers) need to be open when sterilizing with DRY HEAT? 2. Can multiple hinged instruments be bagged together for sterilization in DRY HEAT if they touch?

The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry states as follows:

Preparation and Packaging

In another section of the processing area, cleaned instruments and other dental supplies should be inspected, assembled into sets or trays, and wrapped, packaged, or placed into container systems for sterilization. Hinged instruments should be processed open and unlocked. An internal chemical indicator should be placed in every package. In addition, an external chemical indicator (e.g., chemical indicator tape) should be used when the internal indicator cannot be seen from outside the package. 1

Regarding the packaging of multiple hinged instruments in the same package, as a matter of policy, Ask OSAP does not review, evaluate, certify, recommend or endorse products. Ask OSAP is not in the position to provide technical support for specific products. If you have further questions about procedures and specific products it is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer’s written instruction manual and/or contact the manufacturer of your product directly. The manufacturer’s validated Instructions For Use (IFU) should be able to provide you with guidance on this matter. In this case, it is recommended that you further research the IFU for the dry heat sterilizer, orthodontic pliers and the packaging product. Any further questions should be directed to the product(s) manufacturer(s).


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 July 14, 2016.






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