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Ultrasonic Cleaners Aid in Medical Sharps Safety

A report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that dental office staff, including doctors, nurses, hygienists and others who handle instruments, undergo more than 380,000 injuries from medical sharps every year, an average of over 1,000 a day. These injuries can range from a minor needle prick to more dangerous wounds. In addition to the risk of injury, medical sharps also carry a significant risk of disease, including hepatitis, HIV and other blood-borne illnesses.

One of the methods that dental office staff use to prevent such accidents is to enclose the instruments in storage cassettes. The cassettes serve as carrying cases for the instruments before and after use. The cassettes can also be inserted in an ultrasonic cleaning bath that will remove the blood, saliva and tissue particles that remain on instruments after use. The cassettes also protect the user from the sharp points and edges when transporting the instruments to and from the ultrasonic cleaner. Cleaning instruments in cassettes in an ultrasonic cleaner is far less hazardous than scrubbing them individually by hand.

How an Ultrasonic Cleaner Works

An ultrasonic cleaner functions in much the same way as a pressure washer, only on a much smaller scale (in micrometers) and at much higher pressures. The transducers that generate the high-frequency sound waves are attached to a stainless steel tank. These sound waves agitate the water and create billions of microscopic bubbles. As the sound waves rise and fall with each cycle (as much as 130,000 per second), the bubbles implode and act as “pressure washers”, blasting the contaminants from the instrument surface.

Ultrasonic Cleaners and Medical Sharps

Medical Sharps

In dental offices, surgical suites and other treatment facilities, ultrasonic cleaners have proven highly effective at removing biological debris without dulling the instruments' edges with abrasives or damaging the finish with harsh chemicals. Many treatment centers are implementing the use of ultrasonic cleaners as a component of their safety protocols. The ultrasonic cleaning bath, along with the instrument cassettes, keeps workers safe from the potentially dangerous points on the instruments while ensuring and quick, safe and thorough cleaning.

Features of an Ultrasonic Cleaner

A powerful benchtop ultrasonic cleaner, such as this ultra sonic cleaner, has the power to remove even the most stubborn residues. The durable stainless steel holding tank and powerful transducers enable the Elma model to clean batches of medical sharps in a fraction of the time that hand-cleaning methods would require, along with higher levels of safety and convenience. The “sweep” frequency mode introduces slight variations in ultrasonic vibrations, which eliminates dead spots and ensures a thorough cleaning. The relatively long and shallow tank is designed to hold larger instruments while using a minimum volume of cleaning solution.

Medical staffers who handle sharp instruments after use are at an increased risk of exposure to some potentially dangerous diseases. A clear set of safety guidelines can reduce that risk by orders of magnitude. When workers do not have to handle the instruments during the cleaning process the risk of exposure is reduced. Ultrasonic cleaners play a major role in protecting dental and medical health staff.

For more information on finding an ultrasonic cleaner that meets your needs, contact the experts at iUltrasonic at 973-821-3406.


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