In dentistry, keeping things on countertops and on cabinet shelves is a sure-fire recipe for chaos. Dental supplies and tools are usually small to medium sized, so it's better to contain them rather than keep them loose. Sterile instruments and supplies should be stored in covered or closed cabinets, and should not be stored under sinks or in other places where they can get wet. Wrapped packages of sterilized instruments should be inspected before opening and using them to ensure that the packaging has not been compromised (i.e.
that the packaging has not been damaged).Reusable instruments must be cleaned before sterilization. Residues can prevent heat or chemical vapor from contacting the surface of the instrument and make sterilization difficult. Reusable instruments should be cleaned with automatic, hands-free cleaning equipment, such as an ultrasonic unit. If manual scrubbing is necessary, a long-handled brush should be used to keep hands away from contaminated sharp instruments.
If instruments cannot be cleaned immediately, soaking them beforehand can improve the cleaning process. The ADA Dental Product Standards Committee (SCDP) has established a list of standards and technical reports for dental products. These documents cover topics such as the configuration of the connections of the dental unit to the compressed air supply, the water supply, the suction supply and the wastewater drainage pipes; the materials, design and construction of the compressed air and water system within the dental unit; the quality of the incoming water and air; and the performance of the suction system of the dental unit. The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) provides dentists with information that is useful to reassure patients who may be afraid of receiving dental care due to anxiety related to appropriate infection control practices. When it comes to organizing your dental supplies, you can use traditional tubs or a tray system, but flip-top containers are an even better solution for storing smaller dental supplies, such as milling cutters, mouth mirrors, composite kits, and more. Here are some tips on how to organize dental supplies to maximize efficiency, generate cost savings and ensure optimal patient outcomes:
- Divide inventory management between two or three employees, such as a dental assistant, receptionist, and dental hygienist.
- Invest in inventory management software for your office.
- Monitor temperature control in a dental oven by evaluating the degree of firing of a dental ceramic.