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Why You Should Consider Having a Backup Manual Autoclave

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Having many patients visit your office means business is doing well. While this is great for cash flow, you are likely experiencing work overload with insufficient time to properly wash, disinfect and sterilize all your instruments. Without adequate equipment and instruments in place, heavy traffic can result in an increased risk of infection and safety issues such as overloading the autoclave, in addition to office frustration and backlog of patients.

Typically, dental clinics do not have enough instruments to get through an entire day of seeing patients. Which means on busy days, the clinical team must efficiently perform sterilization protocols to keep instruments moving and ready to use for the next patient. This can lead to frustration and unnecessary stress on the clinical team. Should the availability of sterile instruments fail to keep up with the surge of patients, clinics may run late or potentially not follow through with sterilization procedures in an effort to get the instruments faster, resulting in delayed patient intake or even appointment cancellations.

Dental offices often tend to overload the autoclave to deal with bottlenecks in the instrument processing area and ensure quick turnover of reusable instruments so they can continue seeing patients. This is very common, as we tend to think these loads would be sterilized, as long as they completed a sterilization cycle in an autoclave. Unfortunately, this is not the case. “Do not overload the autoclave” is usually found in autoclave procedures and manuals. So why do we still do it?

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Why you should not overload your autoclave?

Overloading the office autoclave is a frequent conversation I have with clinical team members as it can cause insufficient sterilization of the entire load of instruments. Overloading the autoclave can result in even more severe delays, leaving staff members frantic and flustered.

Moreover, it can result in unsterilized instruments risking patients’ safety and potentially expose clinics to liability issues.

Doing so can also damage your machine in the long run and/or reduce its lifetime. This entails more costs for repairs and frequent downtime, which will ultimately be bad for your business and reputation.

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Why you need a backup manual autoclave?