A Helping Hand to Your Clinic

The constant availability of high-quality autoclaves is essential to infection control in a dental clinic. If your requirements haven’t altered, you may be content to replace an old autoclave with another of the same kind. There are a few things to consider when buying it, whether it’s your first, second, or time buying. Keeping that in mind, here are five guidelines to follow while selecting an autoclave:

Instrumentation and Volume

Before everything else, think about the sterilised tools. On a typical day, how many different instruments do you use? What kind of instruments are those? What is the average daily handpiece usage? Do you plan to preserve or buy any instruments that need to be on a unique cycle? The answer to all these questions will determine which autoclave is best for your clinic.

Vacuum Autoclave or Gravity Displacement

Class N (gravity displacement) and Class B (pre-vacuum) autoclaves are on the market. The Class S category includes autoclaves with a wide range of features. The simplest autoclave uses gravity to expel air via the bottom exit valves once the steam has displaced the air in the chamber. For wrapped loads and devices with lumens-like handpieces, pre-vacuum results in more efficient air removal than gravity displacement. Improved drying efficiency is another benefit of these systems in autoclaves.

Learning the rules and requirements of your jurisdiction is crucial. Vacuum autoclaves are highly recommended for sterilising medical equipment in Europe, according to standard EN 13060. Depending on local regulations, a pre-vacuum autoclave may be required for packed loads, solid instruments, and lumened instruments. In contrast, gravity displacement may only be suggested (or permitted) for unwrapped loads and solid instruments (i.e., no hollows/lumens).

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In some regions, using an autoclave of any kind may be suggested, but transporting loose goods would be prohibited or severely discouraged. Remember that the maker only guarantees autoclaves for the loads and cycles specified in the IFU, whether the loads are wrapped.

Chamber Capacity and Dimensions

The chamber capacity of dental clinic steam sterilisers may be up to 60 litres. The loads that may be accommodated are affected not only by the size of the trays and racks within the cylinder but also by the interior dimensions of the cylinder itself. The ideal chamber would be big enough and designed in such a way as to support the necessary instrument loads without being too massive. Think about buying one giant autoclave rather than two little ones.

Periodicity in Cycles

The cycle length, including the pre-and post-cycle phases, might vary depending on the autoclave model and the cycle parameters. Think about the procedure from start to finish. If necessary, time for drying and preheating should also be factored in. Faster cycles allow for faster reprocessing and subsequent load availability from it.

Ease of Use

Pre-set cycles do not need you to adjust any of the sterilising settings. The ability to lock and unlock doors mechanically, a water fill feature, and computerised recording of the sterilisation log are a few more features of pre-set autoclaves. On the other hand, manual autoclaves are harder to use but cheaper. In the case of automatic autoclaves, be sure there are enough pre-programmed cycles to meet your demands, keeping in mind that having too many is also not ideal.