How To Use An Ultrasonic Cleaner for Cleaning Dental Instruments?

Ultrasonic cleaner or bath sonicator is an essential most device for any dental office or clinic.

Dentist using dental instrument in clinic
Dentist using the dental instrument in a clinic

Reusable dental tools and instruments, often used by dentists on a regular basis – comes in contact with tissues, blood, saliva, and other contaminants.

As many of these tools also penetrate deep into the patient’s soft tissues, these can easily transmit the infection to them.

To avoid any such complications or hygiene issues, these tools should be completely sterilized before using it again.

If you are working as a dental health professional – by not cleaning your dental instruments you are not only putting your patients and staff at risk BUT also your dental practice and profession as a whole.

On the other hand, by cleaning your instruments and tools (using an ultrasonic technology) you not only get safer, faster and efficient cleaning but also increased productivity.

Why Use Ultrasonic Cleaner for Dentistry?

According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, today’s dental offices should practice proper methods for processing their contaminated instruments so as to prevent the transmission of infection.

Therefore not only for the sake of patient’s safety but also for self-protection, dentists and their staff should essentially follow these strict guidelines.

The most common dental instruments found in a dental office include Scalers, Explorers, Tweezers, Cheatle forceps, Swab holding forceps, Mouth mirrors and towel clips. These instruments are often used by staff on their patients for providing different types of dental treatment.

To avoid any infection to the patients, any such already used instrument should be disinfected and sterilized, before using it again for dental treatment.

Tools like dental picks, spatulas, carvers, scrapers, teasing needles, etc can now be thoroughly cleaned using a dental ultrasonic cleaner. You can also use these devices for ultrasonically clean dental prostheses like dentures, Invisalign, retainers, crowns, etc.

Where hand scrubbing of the instruments can be a far tedious and time-consuming job, ultrasonic cleaner for dental equipment can work amazingly by removing all the microscopic contaminants, microbes and stains in just a few minutes.

How To Use Ultrasonic Cleaner for Dental Instruments?

Sensitive dental instruments and tools in the dental clinic are prone to damages OR being host to bacteria, fungus, and other microscopic debris. These, in the long run, may cause various types of infections if subjected to unhygienic cleaning practices.

However cleaning and sanitization done in ultrasonic dental cleaners is highly efficient and should not be ignored at any cost. You should definitely opt for a high-quality ultrasonic cleaner and cleaning method to give your patients the best they deserve…

Below we’ve outlined a brief procedure on how you can use an ultrasonic cleaning machine to clean your dental instruments. Follow them best to ensure proper cleaning and longevity of your dental instruments.

  • For using an ultrasonic cleaner device, first of all, fill the tank with a high-quality sonic cleaning solution meant for ultrasonic cleaners.
  • Now place your dental tools and instruments in the tank, ensuring that these are submerged completely in the solution.
  • You can use a provided basket (in few models) for placing the smaller tools which help in better efficient cleaning without getting them damaged.
  • Now close the lid and switch ‘On’ the machine. Run for about 2 to 7 minutes based on your cleaning requirement and heaviness of contaminants on tools.
  • After the completion of the cleaning cycle, remove the tools from the tank solution and rinse them thoroughly with clean water.

Turning the machine ON will produce high-frequency 42,000Hz ultrasonic waves. And due to powerful ultrasonic vibrations in the solution, billions of microscopic bubbles are created. The process is known as cavitation.

These bubbles when getting in contact forcibly with the surface of tools loosen the deposited dirt and grime, thereby leaving your instruments cleaned just as new.

Can I Place Dental Cassettes in Ultrasonic Cleaner?

Yes, most of these professional commercial-grade cleaning devices allow you to do this.

In fact, packaging your instruments together (that needs the cleaning) into these dental instrument cassettes is the most efficient and reliable method for cleaning.

Dental cassettes and tool organizers are safe and easy to use as you can configure separate locked cassettes for different specific instruments and tasks.

How Long Should Dental Instruments Be in Ultrasonic?

Different ultrasonic cleaning devices come with different cleaning cycles and timer settings. For cleaning most of the loose instruments, setting a cleaning cycle that range between 3-5 minutes is enough.

However, if you are planning to use a locked dental cassette for cleaning your instruments, you may need to set the timer between 10-20 minutes.

In general, the timing can be adjusted easily and depends mainly on the type and condition of tools you desire to get cleaned.

Precautions when Washing Dental Instruments in a Washer

✅ Care has to be taken that the item you are wishing to clean is dirt free and wiped off before you place them in a digital ultrasonic cleaner device.

✅ Also, ensure that you change the dental ultrasonic cleaner solution once in a day (at least) and clean up the tank of the unit thoroughly before filling it with fresh solution.

✅ After a thorough cleaning in dental ultrasonic cleaners, further disinfecting and sterilization processes (using an autoclave) can be accomplished according to, and updated dental sterilization guidelines.

This enables you to use your dental instruments repeatedly without any safety issues.

What Are Some Best Devices to Use in Dental Clinics?

Devices like iSonic D2830, Tek Motion, Tovatech, Elmasonic (E30H, E60H AND P60H), Kendal and CO-Z Professional Ultrasonic Cleaners are some of the best ones that can be used at dental clinics and offices.

Resurge ® ultrasonic cleaner by Dentsply Sirona is also a superior most cleaning device that offers easy and superior cleaning of dental instruments.

After checking the consumer reviews and ratings carefully these best dental ultrasonic cleaner can be bought at stores like Amazon at the most affordable price.

Will Sonic Cleaner Sterilize the Dental Instruments?
No, ultrasonic cleaners are not meant for sterilizing the dentistry instruments. These only help them in cleaning and daily maintenance. For complete sterilization you should instead use an autoclave according to ADA recommendations. This disinfects the instruments with high-pressure and saturated steam.
dental instruments cleaning

How To Sterilize Dental Instruments At Home?

Autoclave sterilization is the most preferred and 100% efficient method when it comes to sterilizing dental instruments safely. Care that you follow all the safety measures and processes while dealing with this process.

As an alternative, you can use dry heat, ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide, ozone gas and many other chemicals such as peracetic acid, formaldehyde, and glutaraldehyde.

Sterilizing the instruments in Microwave is the simplest most method that can be used at home when you do not have any other methods available. The non-ionizing radiation from a microwave stream develops the heat which helps in killing the microorganisms deposited on the surface of instruments.

Ultrasonically scrubbing, cleaning and sterilizing the instruments can also be used as a quick, safe and reliable cleaning process.

As manual cleaning of dental instruments and tools (whether at home or at dental clinics) is a time consuming and inefficient process, it is not recommended by the CDC.

It should only be used as a fallback method, just in case you do not have time or proper device for sterilization.

What Are Some Additional Ways To Protect Dental Instruments?

Cleaning and protecting your valuable dental instruments is most important to safeguard your investment as well as practice.

While automatic cleaning and sterilization devices like ultrasonic cleaner and autoclave can save you from all the hassles, not following proper procedures can prove fatal.

✓ It is therefore important that you clean your instruments after every use. Especially when you do not have time for sterilizing your instruments immediately, you should consider soaking them in a solution with a neutral pH detergent.

If not, the biological debris that is leftover on the instruments can dry over time and get hardened. These become hard to remove and may take extra time during the sterilization.

✓ Be ensured that cleaning your instruments is not the same as sterilizing them. Cleaning is an essential step to remove visible debris. This step prepares the tools for getting sterilized.

✓ Drying your instruments is equally important after you have cleaned and rinsed them well. If not the mineral deposits can damage the instruments and sterilizer unit.

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