At Haynes Dental we take infection control very seriously, in fact we spent £100,000 on a state of the art infection control room. All staff have been fully trained in the operation of the equipment in order to achieve the highest levels of cleanliness and infection control.
According to the Department of Health’s TM-01-05 initiative, all dental practices must adhere to new washing and sterilisation procedures in order to prevent the risk of infection.
Some dental practices are bigger than others and since we occupy a large site we decided to invest in the best equipment we could get – some of it even surpasses the guidelines. There are three standards of HTM-01-05 and we are at Gold Standard.
Using the photos below we can explain the infection control room and the process
The Clean End
This photo shows an overview of the decontamination room. The room is an area outside the four surgeries conforming to all requirements of the HTM-01-05 decontamination guide.
The main feature of the room is that there is a clean end and a dirty end (this picture shows the clean end). All the instruments that come in for sterilising, start at the dirty end and are gradually moved up the chain towards the clean end of the room. Even the air that flows through the room starts at the clean end and is pumped out at the dirty end so that no airborne germs can contaminate the instruments.
The Dirty End
This picture here shows the dirty end of the room – each end of the room has it’s own door and staff go in at the dirty end and out at the clean end when they are bringing out the clean instruments. Each end also has it’s own bin.
Where possible everything installed in the infection control room is hands-free so the highest possible standards are observed. From no-touch bins, to the soap and towel dispensers and even the taps. As you can see all the sinks allow full hand and elbow cleansing. Our taps are hospital grade so that they can even be controlled with elbows!
Notice the flooring too which is also hospital grade – we have no nasty corners or skirting boards to contend with – the flooring carries on up the walls so that dust and dirt cannot collect around the edges.
Instruments are Cleaned
Thermal washer disinfector
All unclean instruments including hand pieces (drills) need to be cleaned, and depending on the type of ‘dirt’ we can use three different methods. Mostly we use the one of our two Thermal Washer disinfectors (pictured).
These machines are a bit like dishwashers but heat to over 90 degrees centigrade. The special PH neutral detergent used in them removes all protein residues from the instruments and flushes out the internal workings of the handpieces. The protein residue removal safeguards against prions, the proteins implicated in the spread of CJD infection.
By using these machines first in the cycle, staff and patients are shielded from potential infection from prions, viruses and bacteria.
An important point about the washer disinfector machines is that they use laboratory quality pure water made from the Elgar water purification machine. This machine provides 6 stage water purification. It takes our normal water supply (which is already higher quality than tap water) and it removes any impurities including the chlorine and fluoride found in a normal water supply. During a normal working day this machine produces 80 litres of pure water! The Elga Water unit also supplies the autoclave (see below).
Instruments are Inspected
After this initial clean, the instruments are inspected under the powerful lit magnifier. If any instruments are found to still be carrying residue they are reprocessed . Steps 1 & 2 are repeated until we are satisfied that all visually noticeable residues are removed.
Handpieces are Oiled
The handpieces/drills are then oiled. Oiling flushes any further residue and keeps the drills in perfect working order. Then the handpieces are bagged.
Forceps and anything with joints or nooks and crannies are inspected again and also bagged.
The Sterlisation Process
The bagged instruments and the oiled handpieces are then placed in a vacuum autoclave. The autoclave heats the equipment to 135 degrees centigrade at a pressure of three atmospheres.
The vacuum that the autoclave produces is important because this allows the superheated steam to penetrate deep inside anything that is hollow (has a lumen) and completely sterilise them
You can also just see in this picture another little machine on the right that is attached to the autoclave – all our sterilsers and thermal disinfectors have these monitors. The monitors perform independent internal checks and data loggers. This ensures that all the cycles of the machines can be recorded and any failures in the sterilisation cycle highlighted.
The Final Stage
Once the autoclave has completed its cycle, a bar code machine dates the equipment. This ensures that all instruments are used within a certain time frame so that they are not stored too long between cycles. Thus, all equipment used by the dentist or hygienist is clean at the point of use.
Here are some instruments bagged up in our drawers and ready for use.
Each evening the entire infection control room is cleared and cleaned ready for the next day. The machines are regularly inspected ,serviced and validated according to the gold standard requirements in the HTM-01-05 DOCUMENT.
If you would like a tour of the infection control room then please do ask – if we have time we will be happy to show you – in fact we are very proud of it!