Figure 10-12.Dry heat sterilizer.
Advantages to chemical vapor sterilization are as
No corrosion, rusting, and dulling of instruments
since water content is only 15 percent (if
instruments are dry when placed in chamber).
Prevents destruction of dental items, such as
endodontic files, orthodontic pliers, wires and
bands, burs, and carbon steel instruments.
Instruments are dry at the end of the cycle.
The major disadvantage of this sterilization
method is the requirement for adequate ventilation.
Chemical vapors, particularly formaldehyde, can be
released when the chamber door is opened, leaving a
temporary but unpleasant odor in the area.
Chemical vapor sterilization is not routinely used
in Navy dentistry. Consult the manufacturers
instructions for specific details on operation and
required user maintenance.
Ethylene Oxide Sterilization
Ethylene oxide (ETO) gas uses relatively low
temperatures for sterilization. Using a heated unit,
sterilization can be achieved in 2-3 hours at 120°F.
However, a lengthy aeration time must follow each
Materials such as suction tubing, handpieces,
radiographic film holders, and prosthetic appliances
may be sterilized without adverse effects. Follow the
manufacturers instructions for safety precautions,
operation, and maintenance. Because of the serious
Occupation Safety Health Agency (OSHA) problems
with ETO gas, COs of Naval Dental Clinics (NDCs)
should not purchase new ETO equipment. Large naval
hospitals with ETO capabilities in their CSR may use
them to sterilize nonheat stable dental instruments and
Liquid Chemical Sterilization
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
classifies chemical disinfectants that are sporicidal as
disinfectants, the FDA classifies all sterilants. Since
monitoring the liquid sterilization process is virtually
impossible, treat these products as high-level
disinfectants rather than sterilants. Be sure to follow
the manufacturers directions exactly.
Bead and Salt Sterilizers
Use bead and salt sterilizers only during the
endodontic procedure for sterilization of clean
Do not use them to sterilize
instruments between patients. Clean contaminated
instruments with an alcohol saturated gauze to remove
blood and debris before inserting into the bead and salt