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Viva Question and Answers Related to Sterilization of Dental Instruments

Here are 50 viva questions and answers related to the sterilization of dental instruments:

  1. What is sterilization in the context of dental instruments?
    • Sterilization refers to the process of eliminating all forms of microbial life, including bacteria, viruses, and spores, from dental instruments.
  1. Why is sterilization important in dentistry?
    • Sterilization is crucial in dentistry to prevent the transmission of infections and ensure patient safety.
  1. What are the primary methods of sterilizing dental instruments?
    • The primary methods include steam autoclaving, chemical sterilization, dry heat sterilization, and ethylene oxide gas sterilization.
  1. Explain the autoclaving process for dental instruments.
    • Autoclaving involves exposing instruments to high-pressure steam at a specified temperature for a set duration, effectively killing microorganisms.
  1. What is the ideal temperature and pressure for steam autoclaving in dentistry?
    • Typically, instruments are autoclaved at 121°C (250°F) at 15 psi for 15-20 minutes.
  1. How does chemical sterilization work?
    • Chemical sterilization relies on liquid or gas chemical agents to eliminate microorganisms. Common agents include glutaraldehyde and hydrogen peroxide.
  1. What is the recommended exposure time for chemical sterilization?
  1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of dry heat sterilization.
    • Advantages: Suitable for heat-sensitive materials. Disadvantages: Requires longer exposure times and higher temperatures.
  1. When is ethylene oxide gas sterilization used in dentistry?
    • Ethylene oxide gas is used for heat-sensitive and moisture-sensitive items that cannot withstand steam autoclaving.
  1. Explain the importance of packaging before sterilization.
    • Packaging protects sterilized instruments from contamination, ensuring their sterility until use.
  1. What is the role of biological indicators in sterilization?
    • Biological indicators contain highly resistant spores, and their absence after sterilization confirms the effectiveness of the process.
  1. How often should biological indicators be used in a dental practice?
    • Regularly, at least weekly, to validate the sterilization process.
  1. What are the potential risks associated with improper sterilization?
    • Infections, cross-contamination, and compromised patient safety.
  1. Describe the routine maintenance of autoclaves.
    • Regular testing, cleaning, and calibration to ensure proper functioning.
  1. What is the purpose of using Class 5 integrators in autoclaves?
    • Class 5 integrators provide a more accurate and real-time assessment of sterilization conditions.
  1. Explain the concept of asepsis in dental practice.
    • Asepsis involves maintaining a sterile environment to prevent the introduction of pathogens during dental procedures.
  1. How can dental professionals ensure proper hand hygiene during instrument sterilization?
    • Handwashing with antimicrobial soap and the use of hand sanitizers.
  1. What are the recommendations for the storage of sterilized instruments?
    • Store instruments in a clean, dry, and protected environment, preferably in sealed pouches.
  1. Discuss the importance of monitoring and documentation in sterilization.
    • Monitoring ensures the effectiveness of the process, and documentation provides a record of sterilization cycles.
  1. Can sterilized instruments be used indefinitely? Why or why not?
    • No, as sterility can be compromised over time due to environmental factors.
  1. What are the challenges in sterilizing dental handpieces?
  1. How should dental impressions be sterilized?
    • Impression materials should be disinfected, not sterilized, using appropriate solutions.
  1. What are the guidelines for handling contaminated instruments before sterilization?
    • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow proper infection control protocols.
  1. Discuss the role of ultrasonic cleaners in instrument sterilization.
    • Ultrasonic cleaners remove debris from instruments before sterilization, enhancing the effectiveness of the process.
  1. Why is it important to segregate clean and contaminated areas in the sterilization process?
    • Segregation prevents cross-contamination and maintains the integrity of sterile instruments.
  1. What precautions should be taken when handling chemical sterilants?
    • Use in a well-ventilated area, follow safety guidelines, and wear appropriate PPE.
  1. How do you ensure the sterility of water used in the autoclave?
  1. What are the common indicators of sterilization failure?
    • Presence of moisture in packaging, discoloration, or a foul odor.
  1. Explain the concept of flash sterilization and when it should be used.
    • Flash sterilization is a quick process for immediate use items and should be used sparingly due to the increased risk of error.
  1. Discuss the impact of instrument packaging on the sterilization process.
    • Proper packaging protects instruments and maintains sterility until use.
  1. How does the type of material influence the choice of sterilization method?
    • Heat-sensitive materials may require chemical or gas sterilization.
  1. Why is it important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sterilization equipment and chemicals?
    • Following instructions ensures the equipment’s effectiveness and the safety of dental professionals.
  1. What measures can be taken to prevent corrosion of dental instruments during sterilization?
    • Use corrosion-resistant materials, proper cleaning, and regular maintenance.
  1. How can dental professionals ensure the effective sterilization of reusable protective equipment?
    • Follow manufacturer guidelines, use appropriate disinfectants, and monitor the equipment’s condition.
  1. Discuss the role of disposable items in reducing the risk of infection in dental practice.
  1. What is the purpose of sterilization monitoring and how is it done?
    • Sterilization monitoring ensures that the process is consistently effective; it involves regular testing using indicators and integrators.
  1. Explain the concept of double wrapping in instrument packaging.
    • Double wrapping provides an extra layer of protection, minimizing the risk of contamination during storage.
  1. What precautions should be taken when handling contaminated instruments before sterilization?
    • Use appropriate PPE, handle with care, and follow infection control protocols.
  1. How does the load composition affect the sterilization cycle in autoclaves?
    • The composition influences the time and temperature required for effective sterilization.
  1. Discuss the challenges and precautions in sterilizing dental burs.
    • Burs require proper cleaning, lubrication, and packaging to prevent damage and ensure sterilization.
  1. What is the purpose of the Bowie-Dick test in autoclaves?
  1. Explain the concept of dry time in autoclaving.
    • Dry time allows the complete removal of moisture from sterilized instruments, preventing corrosion.
  1. How can dental professionals ensure the effective sterilization of hand instruments with joints and hinges?
    • Proper disassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and packaging are essential for sterilizing instruments with joints and hinges.
  1. Discuss the importance of staff training in instrument sterilization.
    • Proper training ensures that dental professionals follow correct sterilization procedures, reducing the risk of errors.
  1. What are the potential hazards associated with ethylene oxide gas sterilization, and how can they be mitigated?
  1. What role do sterilization indicators play in dental practice?
    • Indicators help verify that instruments have been exposed to the sterilization process.
  1. How can dental professionals ensure the proper functioning of the sterilization equipment’s pressure release valve?
    • Regular testing and maintenance are essential to ensure the valve’s proper functioning.
  1. Discuss the impact of instrument rust on sterilization effectiveness.
    • Rust compromises the integrity of instruments and may harbor microorganisms, reducing the effectiveness of sterilization.
  1. What are the potential consequences of using expired chemical sterilants?
    • Expired sterilants may be less effective, leading to inadequate sterilization and an increased risk of infection.
  1. How can dental professionals contribute to a culture of infection control and sterilization in the dental practice?


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