A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant

Written by: Melissa Estime, 2016 –

Today I cleaned our autoclave; a medical equipment that’s used to sterilize tools and instruments, that is it kills all kinds of microbes ensuring that no diseases will be transferred between patients. The autoclave uses high pressure and extremely hot steam to sterilize instruments. In our office, we use a Tuttnauer model. Autoclaves have to be cleaned frequently to remove the build-ups, even though we only used distilled water in them. It does take time for the cleaning products to work but its not like you would have to sit in front of it the entire time. There will be a lot of distilled water used, which your doctor may not be too happy about, lol.

Basically these are the steps:

  1. Remove all instruments and trays from autoclave and spread packet along the bottom of the machine in a straight line.
  2. Run a cycle with no drying.
  3. At the end of cycle, exhaust and drain all the water (This is where you get to see all the build up that was inside, a pretty sight.)
  4. Fill the machine with distilled water and repeat sterilization process.
  5. At the end of the cycle drain and fill with distilled water.
  6. Turn autoclave off and allow to cool.
  7. Remove trays clean with distilled water only, trays may be placed back when chamber is cool.

The machine looked extremely shiny and clean. This is a very important process because the machine has to be always running at optimum condition. We take our patients’ health and safety very seriously, that’s why we test our autoclave at every run by placing special packets that change color with heat to ensure that the required temperature was reached. We also test it regular by running special exam cassettes that are sent back to an independent laboratory to ensure that the autoclave works as intended.

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