The issue of infection control has taken on greater significance in the last several years. This has culminated in a publication by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of recommendations for preventing transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) to patients during exposure-prone procedures. Additionally, federal and state government agencies and the American Dental Association (ADA) have established guidelines which outline strict infection control practices for dental offices. Among these procedures is the proper sterilization of instruments. Included in the guidelines of the CDC, ADA, OSHA, and OSAP (Office Sterilization and Asepsis Procedures Research Foundation) is the standard that biological monitoring should be used weekly. Several states have already added legislation to their dental practice acts, requiring weekly biological monitoring of sterilization equipment.
Heat sensitive tape and bag markings do not ensure that sterilization has been accomplished. Sterilization quality control can only be achieved through the use of calibrated biological indicators (endospores). These organisms are difficult to kill because they are more resistant to heat than viruses and vegetative bacteria. Therefore, if they are killed during sterilization, it is assumed that all other life forms, including Herpes, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, and HIV (the AIDS virus) are also destroyed. Sporicidal activity by an office sterilizer is considered the most sensitive check of its efficiency. To meet this need, the Oral Pathology Laboratory of the College of Dental Medicine in collaboration with ConFirm Monitorir Systems, Inc. in Englewood, Colorado is pleased to offer dental practitioners with a Sterilizer Monitoring Service.