Proper Handling of Instruments for Intraoral Photography

Proper Handling of Instruments for Intraoral Photography

Proper handling of instruments for intraoral photography is a crucial aspect of maintaining hygiene and safety standards in dental practice. Quality processing ensures the protection of patients and staff from infections and helps preserve the durability and functionality of the instruments. Let's take a closer look at how to properly handle and care for retractors, contrastors, and mirrors. All these instruments are considered reusable only after sterilization.

1. Pre-cleaning

Before processing retractors, contrastors, and mirrors, pre-cleaning is necessary. Rinse the instruments under running water with mild soap without using brushes. This step is essential in the sterilization process as removing tissue residues and contaminants from the instrument's surface allows for more effective subsequent processing steps.

2. Disinfection

After pre-cleaning, the instruments should be disinfected. Use recommended disinfectants or solutions for decontaminating the instruments. A soaking time of 10-15 minutes is sufficient. Ensure that the disinfectant meets safety and efficacy standards.

Exception: Contrastors should not be subjected to chemical and cold sterilization. It is recommended to wash them only with water and mild soap, avoiding abrasive materials.

3. Rinsing

After disinfection, the instruments must be thoroughly rinsed with clean water. This step helps remove any remaining disinfectant and avoid potential irritation for patients. After rinsing, allow the instruments to dry. It is crucial that contrastors and mirrors are completely dry before autoclaving to prevent water spots.

4. Sterilization

Prepared and cleaned instruments must be sterilized before use. Follow the sterilization methods recommended by the equipment manufacturers or according to safety standards. For the instruments available on our website, use autoclaving. The minimum autoclave temperature is 121°C, with a sterilization cycle duration of 20-30 minutes. The maximum permissible autoclave temperature is 135°C for 15 minutes.

5. Storage and Maintaining Sterility

After completing the sterilization process, instruments should be stored in special packaging or containers that ensure the instruments remain sterile. Ensure storage is conducted in clean and dry conditions to avoid contamination. Store contrastors in a dark place, as exposure to sunlight or bright light can cause the black silicone to fade.

6. Regular Inspection and Maintenance

Regular inspection of the condition of instruments and their maintenance is also essential. Check instruments for damage and wear. For example, clear retractors can yellow, mirrors can scratch, and contrastors can fade – replace them as necessary. Technical maintenance of instruments helps extend their service life and ensure patient safety.


Before use, ensure that the instruments remain sterile and undamaged. Sterilize instruments again if necessary. Adhering to the rules of handling and sterilizing dental instruments is an integral part of professional dental practice. Regularly checking the processing procedures and adhering to hygiene standards is the key to effective and safe operation of a dental clinic.

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