Online Continuing Education / Course Details

ADA Credits: 3 | AGD Credits: 3 | Cost: $39.00

Instrument Processing for Infection Prevention

Categories: Infection Control

Author(s): Fiona Collins

Course Type: elearning

Target Audience: Dental Assistants, Dentists


Educational Objectives

The overall objective of this article is to provide the reader with information on instrument processing. On completing this article, the reader will be able to do the following:

1. Define the elements of the chain of infection;

2. Delineate and describe the differences in the processing of critical, semicritical and noncritical instruments;

3. Review the use of presoaks and cleaning of instruments;

4. List and describe heat sterilization options and appropriate sterilization packaging; and

5. Review the uses and purposes of chemical and biological indicators.


Safe and effective instrument processing is a key element of the infection prevention cycle. This process must meet CDC guidelines and OSHA requirements. The steps in instrument processing include cleaning and sterilizing the instruments. Their treatment depends on whether they are critical, semicritical or noncritical. Critical and heat-resistant critical instruments must be heat-sterilized, and handpieces must be autoclaved. Prior to heat sterilization, instruments are wrapped in appropriate FDA-cleared sterilization packaging, which must include chemical indicators. Sterilization processes must be tested for sterility assurance and all sterilization records maintained.

ADA Credits: 3 | AGD Credits: 3 | Cost: $39.00

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