Figure 10-8.Cloth and nonwoven wraps with external indicator tape.
in dust covers within a few hours after sterilization. If
this method is used, the command policy must be
clearly defined and consistently used throughout the
DTF. When using the event-related method, all
sterilizers must be biologically monitored at least
Sterility of dental materials, instruments, and
supplies is much harder to maintain than it is to
achieve. There is little value in precise sterilization
procedures if instruments are contaminated upon
completion of the process. Items must be dry before
they are handled or stored. The time required for
drying depends on the type of packs in the load and the
sterilizing agent used. Freshly sterilized items are
never placed on metal or cold surfaces. Packages
become damp from the condensation that occurs and
All sterile supplies, including sterile reusable
dental items, must be stored in a manner that will
preserve their sterility until used. The following
factors affect this process:
Environmental conditions including cleanliness?
proper ventilation, and control of excess heat and
humidity are important.
The location where sterile supplies are stored
should not be in a manner that may contribute to the
increased possibility of contamination. Figure 10-9
shows an acceptable sterile storage cabinet containing
sterilized packs and instruments.
Sterile items should not be stored in patient
treatment or decontamination areas unless they are
protected by enclosures, such as drawers or cabinets.
Sterile and clean patient treatment items may be
stored in the same drawers or cabinets, as long as there is
no possibility of nonsterile items being used
inadvertently when sterility is required.
Sterile items should not be stored with items not
intended for clinical use (e.g., office and cleaning
Items must not be stored on the deck, under
sinks, in window sills, adjacent to heating and air
conditioning vents, or in any area where undetected
contamination may occur.
When storing sterilized items, arrange them
according to expiration date, placing items with later
dates toward the rear. Check supplies periodically to
determine any need for resterilizing. Items must be
resterilized if the wrapper becomes wet, if the pack
touches the deck, if there is any question of
contamination, or if the safe storage period has
Because of the composition of many of the items
used in dentistry, no single sterilization method is