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Sterilization Archived Through 2012
 FAQ - Sterilization - Archived Through 2012



Should a handpiece used on an HIV-positive patient be sterilized twice? 

The cornerstone of today's dental infection control and safety recommendations is the practice of "universal precautions” (also referred to as Standard Precautions in hospital settings. Practicing universal precautions means that you treat every patient as if he or she is carrying an infectious disease. Under this concept, the same acceptedsterilization and other infection control precautions are used on all patients, regardless of HIV, hepatitis, or other disease status(1,2). Repetition of the sterilization process is not necessary.


CDC/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended infection-control practices for dentistry, 1993. MMWR Morbid Mortal Weekly Rep 1993;42(RR-8):1-14. Available at

(2) ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and ADA Council on Dental Practices. Infection Control Recommendations for the Dental Office and Dental Laboratory. J Am Dent Assoc 1996;127:672-680. Available at






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