The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides full recognition that the dental community is in need of precise guidelines pertaining to the act of reprocessing dental devices between encounters with patients since the onset of COVID and COVID-based variants.
Proper reprocessing ensures the prevention of all types of infections and allows complete control within dental practices. Based on this need and the ongoing need for dental care among populations, we have created this question-and-answer guide for practitioners pertaining to dental handpieces and other dental devices used that connects to air lines and/or water lines.
CDC Question and Answer Guide:
Dental Handpieces and Other Dental Devices That Utilize Air Lines and Water Lines
What are the Proper Reprocessing Strategies for Dental Devices That Use Air and/or Water?
Each dental device removed from their associated air lines and/or water lines should be thoroughly cleaned and completely sanitized – with heat – between each of the patients. If the dental device cannot be sterilized with heat and does not have the appropriate FDA clearance for the purpose of reprocessing, it should not be used.
How Should the Dental Handpieces and Dental Devices Be Cleaned?
When cleaning dental handpieces and/or dental devices, you should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. These guidelines will clearly outline the cleaning process that should be performed, the lubrication instructions, and detailed information pertaining to the sterilization of the devices. By not following the guidelines from the manufacturer, you are putting your patients and your dental practice at risk.
What Types of Dental Devices Should be Cleaned Following the CDC Guidelines?
All dental devices that use either air lines or water lines are included in the guidelines outlined by the CDC. These include low-speed dental handpieces, high-speed dental handpieces, electric dental handpieces, surgical dental handpieces, endodontic dental handpieces, and all components associated with these devices. Examples include motor systems, attachment units, nose cones, prophylaxis angles, and contra-angles. Again, if the instruments cannot be sterilized, they should not be used at this time.
If Dental Handpieces and Other Devices Do Not Use Air or Water Lines, How Should They Be Reprocessed?
For dental handpieces and other dental devices that are completely independent of either an air line or a water line, the guidelines from the FDA should be followed on reprocessing. Additionally, the manufacturer’s information pertaining to proper cleaning, how to lubricate, and the sterilization process should be followed. If independent-based handpieces and dental devices cannot be sterilized with heat, they should not be used in your dental practice.
How Do I Determine if My Dental Devices are Cleared by the FDA?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a searchable database. Dental practitioners may go to the database, insert information about their dental handpieces and dental devices to determine if it is listed. If you find your devices, they are considered to be cleared by the FDA. This list outlines only those that are completely cleared for commercial distribution and usage within the United States. If your dental devices are not listed, you should purchase new devices that are cleared by the FDA for the safety of your patients and the protection of your dental practice.
Why Should I Follow the CDC Reprocessing Guidelines?
Various studies have concluded that the internal features and components of dental handpieces and other dental devices have the capability of becoming contaminated with material from patients in which they are utilized. This material has the capability of making its way inside the mouths of other patients. Naturally, much of the material has the capability of being contagious or infectious or may prove to be detrimental to health. Examples include potentially dangerous pathogens, such as bacteria, fungus, and viruses, including COVID-19 and its associated variants that are now emerging publicly.
What if I Can’t Validate FDA Clearance of My Dental Devices?
If you are unable to successfully validate the fact that your dental devices have been cleared by the FDA but believe them to be, contact the manufacturer of the device directly. You may request documentation that outlines the clearance of the associated device from the FDA.
Purchase New Dental Handpieces and Devices
If your dental handpieces and dental devices are not cleared by the FDA, older, or cannot be sterilized with heat, it is advised that you purchase new handpieces and devices. To start the process, simply visit Hughes Dental today and explore the various products offered. If you have any questions, require assistance, or would like additional help with your order, contact Hughes Dental immediately by calling: 1-800-773-0800