Dental Laboratory Equipment

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Like medical equipment, dental equipment poses a risk of cross-contamination between samples from patients. However, with the exception of surgical equipment, most dental equipment is re-used instead of being thrown out. Since dental medicine is so specific, studies have shown that there is so low a risk of infecting another patient as to be negligible.

Using Dental Equipment

Even though the dentist takes the examination tools from a sealed package for each patient, the examining tools are usually not brand new. Rather, they have been sterilized at a dental lab, and are re-sealed after sterilization to make sure that nothing gets on them between the lab and the visit. But why can dentists re-use these tools, but doctors have to replace scalpels and syringes?

The answer is that there is virtually no chance of dental tools passing infection. First of all, the sterilization process is so thorough that it is nigh impossible for bacteria to survive it. Second, even if a few bacteria were by some chance to survive being sterilized, the organisms that cause plaque and gingivitis are so common that an extra micro-organism or two wouldn't make a difference.

Aside from the examination tools, though, dentists do follow medical supply protocols. When performing surgery, scalpels and syringes are thrown out after use. And if a dentist has used examination tools on a patient who may have an uncommon infection, a good dentist will have no problem just tossing the tools instead of having them sterilized.

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