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5/31/2018 » 6/3/2018
2018 OSAP Annual Conference

FAQ - Miscellaneous - 2016
FAQ - Miscellaneous - 2016



Do you have recommendations regarding collection of extracted teeth for use in dental school. Specifically, what solution should the teeth be stored in prior to sterilization, how to transport. How frequently should the soln be changed. Thank you.

The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry addresses extracted teeth as follows:

Handling of Extracted Teeth


Extracted teeth that are being discarded are subject to the containerization and labeling provisions outlined by OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard (13). OSHA considers extracted teeth to be potentially infectious material that should be disposed in medical waste containers. Extracted teeth sent

to a dental laboratory for shade or size comparisons should be cleaned, surface-disinfected with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with intermediate-level activity (i.e., tuberculocidal claim), and transported in a manner consistent with OSHA regulations. However, extracted teeth can be returned to

patients on request, at which time provisions of the standard no longer apply (14). Extracted teeth containing dental amalgam should not be placed in a medical waste container that uses incineration for final disposal. Commercial metal recycling companies also might accept extracted teeth with metal restorations, including amalgam. State and local regulations should be consulted regarding disposal of the amalgam.

Educational Settings

Extracted teeth are occasionally collected for use in preclinical educational training. These teeth should be cleaned of visible blood and gross debris and maintained in a hydrated state in a well-constructed closed container during transport. The container should be labeled with the biohazard symbol (13,14). Because these teeth will be autoclaved before clinical exercises or study, use of the most economical storage solution (e.g., water or saline) might be practical. Liquid chemical germicides can also be used but do not reliably disinfect both external surface and interior pulp tissue (403,404).

Before being used in an educational setting, the teeth should be heat-sterilized to allow safe handling. Microbial growth can be eliminated by using an autoclave cycle for 40 minutes (405), but because preclinical educational exercises simulate clinical experiences, students enrolled in dental programs should still follow standard precautions. Autoclaving teeth for preclinical laboratory exercises does not appear to alter their physical properties sufficiently to compromise the learning experience (405,406). However, whether autoclave sterilization of extracted teeth affects dentinal structure to the point that the chemical and microchemical relationship between dental materials and the dentin would be affected for research purposes on dental materials is unknown (406).

Use of teeth that do not contain amalgam is preferred in educational settings because they can be safely autoclaved (403,405). Extracted teeth containing amalgam restorations should not be heat-sterilized because of the potential health hazard from mercury vaporization and exposure. If extracted

teeth containing amalgam restorations are to be used, immersion in 10% formalin solution for 2 weeks should be effective in disinfecting both the internal and external structures of the teeth (403). If using formalin, manufacturer MSDS should be reviewed for occupational safety and health concerns and to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations (15).


H. Handling of Extracted Teeth

1. Dispose of extracted teeth as regulated medical waste unless returned to the patient (IC) (13,14).

2. Do not dispose of extracted teeth containing amalgam in regulated medical waste intended for incineration (II).

3. Clean and place extracted teeth in a leakproof container, labeled with a biohazard symbol, and

maintain hydration for transport to educational institutions or a dental laboratory (IC) (13,14).

4. Heat-sterilize teeth that do not contain amalgam before they are used for educational purposes

(IB) (403,405,406).1


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 8, 2016.







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