Introduction: How to Sterilize Using an Autoclave

Hello, my name is Alyssa and I am a dental assisting student at Lake Area Tech. Having sterilized instruments is very important to prevent cross-contamination for the staff and other patients. So today I would like to demonstrate how to sterilize dental instruments using the Midmark autoclave. It is the biggest sterilizer in the dental office, but very simple to use if used properly.

Step 1: Supplies

Things needed to run the Midmark autoclave. Gloves, exam gloves, and utility gloves. The exam gloves are to protect from bioburden and getting dirty. The utility gloves are to protect hands from getting poked. The instruments used in the dental office will be filled with patients’ blood and saliva that can be contaminated with bacteria and other diseases. Other personal protective equipment is needed as well, as far as a lab jacket and protective eye wear and a mask to protect from being splashed with the contaminated bioburden or coming in contact with harmful cleaning chemicals. Instruments and instrument packages to put the instruments in to be sterilized. Distilled water in case the autoclave needs to be filled with water. Then, of course, Midmark autoclave to sterilize the instruments.

Step 2: Gloves

First before touching any instruments or equipment that could be contaminated put on all personal protective equipment. Protective eyewear, lab jacket and then put on a mask. Then put on the exam gloves, over the exam gloves the utility gloves will be put on.

Step 3: Checking the Water Level

Next, check the water level on the left side of the autoclave and make sure the waterline is within the green. If the water line is in the red and will need to be filled with distilled water only. Tap water will ruin the autoclave. The water can be filled right above where the clear hose is, there is a little slot with an opening where the water goes.

Step 4: Packaging Instrumetns

Then, load autoclave with packaged instruments paper side up. When packaging the instruments, it’s important to make sure the dotted line on the package is on the top is evenly folded over. If the packages are not properly closed this will result in instruments not staying sterilized after they are stored. They can also be sterilized alone, known as a naked cycle. If instruments are packaged with will need to be marked with your initials and the date on the flap that is folded over when packaging them. When instruments are sterilized by themselves they will not be considered sterile after the autoclave is open. The naked cycle is used when instruments need to be used right after sterilization.

Step 5: Closing the Door

Fourthly, close the door by lifting the handle on the outside of the autoclave and closing the door with the other hand. When the door is closed let down the handle to engage the lock. Check and make sure the door is closed securely.

Step 6: Selecting Cycle

Finally, select which cycle is needed, wrapped instruments or by themselves. The buttons on the autoclave will have either an instrument alone or one inside the package, choose the appropriate button. Then the autoclave with heat up and sterilize the instruments, and dry them. After they are dry they can be taken out and stored for later use.