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Sharps Safety/Postexposure Management Archived Through 2012
 FAQ - Sharps Safety/Postexposure Management - Archived Through 2012



Is it proper for the doctors or hygienists to wrap gauze around their finger in order to clean the instruments they are using?

Wrapping gauze around the finger in order to clean instruments during use is often viewed as an unsafe work practice by dental infection control experts.

While OSAP is not aware of an established official procedure for debridement of instruments at chairside, it is important to keep worker safety foremost in mind.

One suggestion is to try taping four cotton rolls to the bracket tray first. Next, only moisten the two inner cotton rolls. This may solve the problem of the tape not adhering to the bracket tray cover. Although this will not totally eliminate the need to stop during the procedure to remove residual debris, it may be helpful to remove residual debris before picking up the instruments and/or when they are placing it back on the tray.

Other practitioners have suggested taping moistened cotton balls to the edge of the bracket tray as a debridement tool. There are also commercial products, such as sponges with adhesive backing that are available for instrument debridement. You may check with your local dental supplier for vendors in your area.

The authors of OSAP's Interactive Training System states the following:
" Never wipe debris from instrument tips by holding gauze in your hand or with a gauze wrapped around your finger. In addition, you should avoid wiping instruments on your patient's bib. Tape four cotton rolls on the bracket tray cover and wipe debris on these cotton rolls. If you wet one or two of the cotton rolls, it will be easier to clean the instrument tip or blade." (1)

1) OSAP's Interactive Training System, 2nd. edition. By Eklund and Bednarsh. Copyright 1999 




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