The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine conducted a study evaluating the degree of spatter and contamination generated during instrument cleaning before sterilization. The results were fairly conclusive. Spatter generated through cleaning has a high probability for acting as a vehicle for bacterial contamination. Spatter could travel both outwards and upwards towards the protective eye gear worn by staff. The article lists several procedures that can help reduce the infection risk to a large extent. Where possible they advocate the use of ultrasonic cleaners. This is line with our recommendation to use an ultrasonic cleaner for dental instrument cleaning.
This study has some great findings. The objective of the study was to measure the levels of decontamination possible with ultrasonic cleaning. The first staturated dental instruments with blood contaminants at a level that was 10x higher than normal. Ultrasonic cleaning of these instruments showed a 100x reduction in contamination while hand and manual cleaning proved largely ineffective. In addition to that, they infected the dental instruments and hand pieces with a virus. The reduction in virus levels was startling: 1000x for handpieces, and 1,000,000x for instruments. This validates what we’ve advocated all along: an ultrasonic cleaner for dental instrument cleaning is a critical piece of equipment. This of course does not replace sterilization as the final step after ultrasonic cleaning.
In this study published at Sage Journals, they examine the effect of ultrasonic cleaning on polysulphide rubber impressions and measure the dimensional change in the impression. This is an important test as any change in the dimensions can have a negative impact on the produced cast. The final result of the study validated the use of ultrasonic cleaners. Clinicians were unable to differentiate between casts created from rubber impressions cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners or those cleaned by other methods. Not only that, the measured distortion in dimensions due to ultrasonic cleaning were no different from other cleaning methods. A related post discusses ultrasonic cleaning of molds.
As we suggested in our blog post How to Select Ultrasonic Cleaner Solutions* cleaning solution chemistry has an important bearing on the success of operating an ultrasonic cleaner. Here we will look at some other considerations to keep in mind.
For example, the choice of a cleaning chemistry depends not only on the surface material and contamination, but also on the use and level of cleanliness required after cleaning. Here are but two of many examples we could share:
For precision cleaning prior to coating operations you need a cleaner that easily rinses residue-free. This helps ensure that coatings such as powder, anodizing, chromium plating or paint will fully adhere to the surface. For applications such as these we strongly suggest EC 260 d&s neutral foam-inhibited concentrate.
There are less-demanding levels of cleanliness for other applications. If your shop cleans, repairs or reconditions used equipment made of materials such … Read the rest
According to this newspaper article from 1970, modern gadgets in the home don’t save women time from daily chores. They mention that even an ultrasonic dishwasher (which 40 years later is yet to see the light of day) may get your forks cleaner but it won’t save any time over a regular dishwasher. We would tend to agree. The principle of ultrasonic cleaning won’t make your dish cleaner any faster. However, when it comes to regular ultrasonic cleaning of jewelry or small parts or fishing gear or guns or even dentures, the process is much faster. Why? Manual cleaning of such items is laborious, time consuming, and may require two or three passes before you get the job done. In contrast dunk the lot into an ultrasonic cleaner and you can get it clean in 10 to 30 minutes depending on the object you are cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaning is fast. … Read the rest
It never stops amazing me! Here is another newspaper clip from 1966. This time a hospital room gets an ultrasonic cleaner through a charitable donation. Till recently, I was under the mistaken impression that ultrasonic cleaning is a relatively modern technology. The deeper I dig the more astounding it gets. That it is being used in a hospital operation theater indicates that the technology had reached sufficient maturity back then itself! It would seem that the major wonders of science were discovered in the 20th century and all that we are left with is a process of refinements and upgrades. Something to think about….
Here is a great overview of the CDC Guidelines on Dental Instrument Sterilization. It covers: transporting, receiving and cleaning, wrapping and packaging, sterilization, storage and distribution, and sterilization monitoring. All very important within the context of minimizing the risk of infection. What we’d like to point out is the absolute necessity for an ultrasonic dental instrument cleaner. This is a critical pre-sterilization step as noted in the above article to ensure that all stray debris and organic matter are scrubbed off the instrument surface.
It looks like ultrasonic cleaners for diamonds are a staple for print publications. Here is another article on diamonds that talks about using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean the diamond. The article however falls a bit short in its recommendation when it comes to purchasing an ultrasonic cleaner. For home use, an ultrasonic cleaner is a multifaceted cleaner. It is suitable for many household/garage items including tools, machine parts, dentures, and so on. You should consider all the various cleaning chores before buying one.
This video from Horology Zone is a simple demo showing how easy it is to clean something in an ultrasonic cleaner. In this case, it is a watch bracelet. Note that watches – the mechanical variety with cogs and wheels – can be cleaned too. But that requires a proper knowledge of the intricacies of a mechanical watch as you need to disassemble the watch first. It should not be undertaken by those without sufficient know how. You might end up with a bunch of small cogs and things left over! Nevertheless an ultrasonic watch cleaner can do wonders to restore your watch to mint condition.… Read the rest
We earlier covered a 1959 newspaper article speculating on a future with ultrasonic dishwashers. That it would seem is old hat. Here is another newspaper clip from 1958 talking about ultrasonic washing machines and dryers!
It is almost surprising that the limitations back then remain to this day. The column notes that the main barrier is cost. This aspect hasn’t changed one bit. Based on our current understanding of physics an ultrasonic washing machine will be more trouble than what it is worth. Nevertheless, we hope for some new scientific discovery to make it simple and affordable.