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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 172-178

Sterilization protocol for orthodontic and endodontic instruments

1 Professor and Head, Dept. of Orthodontics, Priyadarshini Dental College and Hospital, Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Priyadarshini Dental College and Hospital, Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Priyadarshini Dental College and Hospital, Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Nazeer Ahmed Meeran
Priyadarshini Dental College and Hospital, VGR Nagar, Thiruvallur, Pandur - 631 203, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Pathogenic microbes may be transmitted directly from the dentist to the patient or from the patient to the doctor, and indirectly from patient-to-patient. The latter may occur via contaminated instruments or surfaces, and is referred to as cross- contamination. This presents an enormous challenge in the current scenario as it has been proved that blood and saliva are high-risk sources of contracting hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus and herpes. In addition to that mouth is the reservoir of several pathogens which can be easily transmitted from patient-to-patient or to the doctor. It is a well-known fact that oral surgeons deal with blood and are supposed to work in a high-risk zone, but very often we tend to give a blind eye to the fact that the so called 'blue collared' specialists, orthodontists and endodontists, too have a high-risk of pricks and cut injuries with sharp instruments and are only second to oral surgeons in risk for contracting hepatitis B virus. Effective sterilization and disinfection techniques must be rigidly followed as per the accepted protocols to prevent the incidence of cross infections in the dental office. This article offers practical guidelines and recommendations for effective sterilization in the orthodontic and endodontic office. These guidelines are suited for easy implementation with the instrument longevity in mind. Various sterilization protocols for orthodontic and endodontic instruments are reviewed concomitantly with relevant scientific data. Additionally, contributory factors of instrument damage are enumerated to emphasize the importance of adhering to precise protocols and manufacturer recommendations as well as in alleviating some misconceptions about sterilization-induced instrument damage.

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