Advantages and Disadvantages of Various methods of Sterilization in Dentistry

Sterilization in Dentistry is a very important and crucial aspect of providing successful Dental treatments. As Sterile instruments and sterile environment in the Dental clinic play an important role in preventing any infections. There are numerous Sterilization procedures which are available in the market like – Autoclaving, Dry Heat, Chemical sterilization, Ultraviolet light sterilization etc. All the sterilization procedures have their limitations and pros and cons as well based on which we need to decide which is the best Sterilization procedure required in our practice. 

Sterilization of Dental instruments and equipment

Let us look at the Advantages and Disadvantages of the various Sterilization procedures performed in Dental Clinic – 

Autoclaving: This the most used and most accepted method of sterilization of surgical instruments using pressurized saturated steam at 121-degree centigrade for around15-30 minutes. It is widely accepted and most used in Dental clinics to sterilize surgical instruments as it eliminates Bacteria, Virus, Fungi and Spores as well. The Effectiveness is due to the fact that steam penetrates all the surfaces of the instruments thus providing complete sterilization of the instruments without leaving any blind spots. 

Advantages of Autoclaving in Dentistry: 

  • Cheap or Economical
  • Short procedure time
  • Provides good penetration on all surfaces
  • No additional chemicals or disposables required 

Disadvantages of Autoclaving in Dentistry

  • Moisture retention
  • Carbon Steel can get damaged due to moisture exposure
  • Only Stainless Steel instruments and plastics which can bear the heat be sterilized

Dry Heat: This method of Sterilization uses Heated Air or Fire to achieve sterilization with the temperature being around 180 degrees Centigrade. It helps in the killing of microorganisms using destructive oxidation method. It needs high temperature at long periods of time in comparison to Moist heat approximately 2 hours at 160 degrees Centigrade. 

Advantages of Dry Heat in Dentistry

  • Economical or cheap 
  • Does not cause Rusting of Instruments 
  • Powders and anhydrous oils can be sterilized

Disadvantages of Dry Heat in Dentistry

  • Difficult to control and maintain such high temperature
  • Time taking
  • Slow penetration
  • Instruments or materials like cloth, rubbers, plastics etc cannot be sterilized.

Chemiclaving: It is the process of sterilizing using chemical vapor under pressure. Chemical vapor pressure sterilizers need to acheive 131 decrees centigrade and 20 pouds of pressure for approximately 1 hour to achieve proper sterilization.

Advantages of Chemiclaving

Does not cause Rusting of instruments


Instruments or materials like cloth, rubbers, plastics etc cannot be sterilized

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