As the day begins in your office, you are setting up trays based on the day’s planned procedures. You look down to notice one of the office’s new burs has a smidge of rust, just the tiniest of specks. You pause, but finally move on, getting ready for another busy day of treating patients.
You place the slightly rusted bur on a tray to be used early in the morning, one of the first procedures of the day. Once you complete the day’s set-ups, you are ready to start seeing patients. Another typical day in the practice of dentistry passes by uneventfully. Now that all the patients have left, it is time to clean up. If time permitted, the office staff has been cleaning up throughout the day, but often that is not the case. Today, you come back to a day’s worth of set-ups that now once again need your attention. Thankfully, everyone has pitched in by putting the instruments in a soaking solution throughout the day. It is now your duty to manually clean the instruments and get them sterilized for tomorrow.
As you approach the soaking instruments, your eye is drawn to one soaking pan in particular. That dental bur that had a speck of rust this morning is now rusted completely in two! That little speck of corrosion has literally exploded on the instrument and deteriorated the metal, but why?
Exposure to cleaning compounds, air and heat can combine to speed up the deterioration process, sometimes exponentially. The good news is that this process can be slowed, sometimes to the point of near non existence. The solution is in your cleaning practices. Follow these tips to minimize corrosion in your practice, prolong the life of expensive instrumentation and properly clean your tools to reduce the spread of corrosion.
• Water is very corrosive by nature. We do not recommend that you use water as the holding solution for your instruments.
• To avoid soaking in pans in general, use a pre-treatment spray foam. Enzymatic foams like ProEZ foam are best because they are designed to attack bioburden.
• Make sure that all of your detergents and enzymatic cleaners have anti-corrosion agents built in to protect instruments. These agents blanket instruments with protection, from water and harsh chemicals.
• Alcohol and bleach based products should not be used to clean instruments. They can be highly corrosive and are generally not compatible with metal instruments.
• Always use lubricant on jointed instruments before sterilization. Use only lubricants like ProLube, which do not contain mineral oil, to ensure proper sterilization.