We employ several sterilization techniques, including heat, cold, and chemical sterilization. All three of these methods are monitored regularly to ensure their efficacy. Wherever possible, disposable instruments and plastic barrier shields are used.
Heat sterilization is accomplished through the use of either pressurized steam or dry heat. A device known as an "autoclave" uses steam and high-pressure to achieve rapid sterilization. Dry heat sterilization is an alternate technique used for certain instruments that do not tolerate prolonged exposure to moisture. Here, a miniature oven is used to subject instruments to high temperatures until sterilization is achieved.
Chemical sterilization is used for instruments made of plastic or acrylic. These instruments can burn or melt if exposed to excessive heat. Chemical sterilization involves immersing instruments in a sterilization solution for several hours, until all bacteria and viruses are neutralized.
Regardless of what technique is used to achieve sterilization or disinfection, you can be assured that we have done our utmost to ensure the safety of you and your family. Our comprehensive sterilization regimen is continually evolving and improving as new materials and methods become available.
Water Line Treatment
The quality of water contained in dental water lines has been a subject of much controversy in the past several years. Although Oswego's water supply is filtered and chlorinated, public water lines in every community have a certain amount of bacteria living in them. Through various types of filtration and chemical treatments, municipalities can lower bacteria counts to manageable levels. However, as water lines get progressively thinner en route to their final destination, the amount of bacteria in the line gets more and more concentrated. This can lead to astonishingly high levels of bacteria in the fine water mist a dentist sprays onto your teeth. These bacteria can represent a serious problem for people with compromised immune systems. It can also cause delayed healing and infections after certain procedures (like root canals or gum surgery) where a sterile working field is critical.
Our practice employs a water treatment system that uses reverse osmosis filtration, ultra-violet light and silver ion disinfection. We also use a series of "anti-retraction" water line valves in our dental units. These valves close the instant that water stops running through them, so that bacteria won't get pulled up into the water line through vacuum pressure. The end result is water that has less than 2 parts per million of bacteria. That's less than what's found in a typical bottle of drinking water!