by Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH
Reading could be one of the most valuable skills that we develop in school. Yet, the older we get, the easier it becomes to “forget to read ” because we figure that we already know everything there is to know. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In dentistry and infection control, it is imperative to read the labels. Not all disinfectant products are the same, and if not used correctly, the products can become useless. The only way to know how to use a product properly is to read the labels and instructions.
In dentistry, there are different levels of cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization required. Cleaning is a first step, followed by disinfection. Many people might think these terms are synonymous, or that the products for each process are interchangeable, but they aren’t. Some products only require 1-step, but you have to confirm by reading the instructions.
Failure to use these different products properly can create extra costs and safety hazards.1,2 According to the CDC, dental offices should only use disinfectant wipes that are approved for use in healthcare settings and follow the manufacturer recommendations. Even then, some products require multiple steps, and it’s crucial to follow the label to know how much is needed or if it needs dilution, how long it must make contact with the surface, how to use it safely, and also how to dispose of the cleaning products.
Reading a label only takes a few extra moments, but not reading it can cause a whole host of long-term problems for both your practice and your patients. So, the choice is clear: make sure you read and follow all instructions to make sure that you are doing your part to prevent infection and provide a safer, cleaner dental environment for everyone.
1 “Disinfection and Sterilization in Dentistry”. https://tdaperks.com/disinfectionsterilization/. Accessed 5 Mar 2020.
2 “FAQ- Disinfection” 2018. https://www.osap.org/page/FAQDISIN20184?&hhsearchterms=%22instructions+and+use%22. Accessed 5 Mar. 2020.