Surgical and other instruments that normally penetrate soft tissue and/or bone (e.g., forceps, scalpels, bone chisels, scalers, and surgical burs) should be sterilized after each use. Instruments that are not intended to penetrate oral soft tissues or bone (e.g., amalgam condensers, plastic instruments, and burs) but that may come into contact with oral tissues should also be sterilized after each use, if possible; however, if sterili- zation is not feasible, the latter instruments should receive high-level disinfection.
Before high-level disinfection or sterilization, instruments should be cleaned to remove debris. Cleaning may be accomplished by a thorough scrubbing with soap and water or a detergent. Persons involved in cleaning and decontaminating instruments should wear heavy-duty rubber gloves to prevent hand injuries. Metal and heat-stable dental instruments should be routinely sterilized between use by steam under pressure (Autoclaving). Heat- and steam-sensitive chemical indicators may be used on the outside of each pack to assure it has been exposed to a sterilizing cycle.
At the completion of work activities, countertops and surfaces that may have become contaminated with blood or saliva should be wiped with absorbent toweling to remove extraneous organic material, then disinfected with a suitable chemical germicide (Surfasept 3M).