One of the major changes in the dental compressed air industry in 2013 was a revised version of HTM 01-05, published by the Department of Health, with several changes having been incorporated. Here are some of the major changes that have occurred pertaining to dental procedures:

• In the past, contamination audits were conducted every three months. In 2014, it will be conducted every twice a year.

• Appliances that are encased in a hygienic condition can now be held on to for a period of 12 months.

• Instruments that are not wrapped can be stored for a period of 24 hours, provided the storage is done in covered drawers.

• All instruments must have a date of expiry, and also the time they have been processed.

Dental Changes in 2014

Dental guidelines have taken a more pragmatic approach in 2014; it has reduced the redundancy of decontaminating the products used for dental procedures. Contamination is the biggest problem encountered when it comes to dental procedures, which could result in many serious oral infections. Thankfully, there are new guidelines for hand washing, with some being:

• Do not reuse spray bottles for cleaning hands.

• Do not buy reusable products for hand washing, such as refills.

• Uniforms need to be washed in the hottest temperature, as that would help prevent microorganisms from infesting the clothes.

• Rinsing bowls cannot be used any longer.

• When washing the hands, it is a must to use a disinfectant.

Some Extra Precautions

Usage of endodontic instruments has to be individually monitored and sterilised thoroughly. If you opt for a manual wash, then the devices must be cleaned separately. It is also a must to use a disinfectant while washing them. The HTM 01-05 also recommends that regular health checks must be conducted to detect hepatitis B. Waste management practices should adhere to the rules and policies described in HTM 07-01.

Another important aspect is dental air quality. Dental air is supplied via a compressor, and it is mandatory that the compressor has a filter attached. This ensures that the filter catches all the microorganisms, with just clean and dry air entering the patient’s mouth. This also improves the efficiency of dental instruments, as wet and unclean air will result in corrosion and damage to the instruments.

Some Further Guidelines

• When you use a hand piece, the washer or disinfector will have to comply with the manufacturer guidelines.

• An everyday test has to be conducted on the sterilisers being used.

• The decontamination equipment that you use has to comply with the laws, and must be equally validated.

• Check the air filter of the dental air compressor regularly. Schedule periodic maintenance so that the filter can be cleaned or replaced when needed.

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