Knowledge and Awareness of Sterilization among General Dentist


S. Jitesh, Dr. Pradeep,

Saveetha Dental College, Chennai -600 071

*Corresponding Author E-mail:



AIM AND OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to assess the level of knowledge and awareness among general dentist about sterilization protocol.

BACKGROUND: Oral and dental diseases have become a major public health concern in both developed and developing countries. Sterilization is a process by which, complete destruction or killing of all microorganisms, including bacterial spores is achieved. Prevention of infection and control is an important part of safe patient care. Concerns about the possible spread of blood-borne diseases, and the impact of emerging, highly contagious respiratory and other illnesses, require practitioners to establish, evaluate, continually update  and monitor their  infection prevention and control strategies and protocols[2].`

REASON: Dental care professionals are at an increased risk of cross infection as well as its transmission while treating the patients. This study is based on to assess the level of knowledge and awareness among general dentist about sterilization protocol


KEYWORDS: Level of knowledge; Sterilization protocol



Oral and dental diseases have become a major public health concern in both developing and developed countries. Sterilization is a process by which, complete destruction or killing of all microorganisms, including bacterial spores is achieved[1]. Prevention of infection and control is an important part of safe patient care. Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, most commonly, dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontal (gum) diseases and bad breath. There are also oral pathologic conditions in which good oral hygiene is required for healing and regeneration of the oral tissues. These conditions include gingivitis, periodontitis, and dental trauma, such as subluxation, oral cysts, and following wisdom tooth extraction.


Dental care professionals are at an increased risk of cross infection as well as its transmission while treating the patients[5-7].


Dental procedures frequently cause bleeding and exposure to infected blood, saliva and aerosol are a known means of infectious disease transmission[16]. The use of gloves, face mask and specta­cles has been reported to be important in preventing the three routes of transmission (dentist to patient, patient to dentist, patient to patient) in a dental clinic[4]. Dental surgeons have to work in a pathogen–rich, often blood, and contaminated environment. They are exposed to a variety of microorganisms present in blood and saliva, coupled with possible injury from the sharp instruments while treating the patients, doctors themselves become susceptible to different infectious diseases. There are effective infection control procedures and universal precautions for dental clinics and dental operatories to prevent cross contamination, which should be prac­ticed by dentists, dental technicians, dental chair-side assistants, and dental lab technicians[3].


To minimize the risk of cross infection in the dental clinic, specific rec­ommendations have been issued by professional health agencies. These recommendations include routine use of barrier techniques (gloves, masks), heat sterilization of dental instruments and the universal precautions[8]. Dentist’s compliance with these recommendations and infection control programs have been recently studied in different parts of the world.[9-12].


Sterilization is recommended for all high-speed dental handpieces, low-speed handpiece components used intraorally and reusable prophylaxis angles. It is important to follow the manufacturers’ instructions for cleaning, lubrication and sterilization procedures to ensure the effectiveness of the sterilization process and the longevity of these instruments. High speed and low-speed handpieces produced today are heat tolerant, and many older heat sensitive models can be retrofitted with heat-stable components.


These studies indi­cate that there are gaps in some dentist’s knowledge regarding the modes of transmission of infectious diseases so the objective of this study was to increase the aware­ness and importance of sterilization in reducing the communicable diseases among dentist and general population.



A dental teaching hospital was randomly selected in Chennai, India. A total of 100 respondents took part in the survey including the dental house surgeons, post graduate trainee of the respective colleges and students from the third and final year BDS. Participation of the respondents was voluntary. The study was conducted from 1st December 2015 to 10th January 2016.


A self-administered, close ended questionnaire was given to the voluntary respondents and the infor­mation about their knowledge, practices and attitude was evaluated. Questionnaire elicited information on demography and perception on the use of gloves, disinfectants in the regular dental practice, methods of sterilization and knowledge about the waste management, knowledge about barrier technique etc. These are made into yes/no form and were presented in a well organised manner to the dentist.




















Yes %

No %

Do you think sterilization is important?



Do you follow sterilization protocol?



Do you know about organization which provides information for sterilization?



Do you prefer to use disinfectant over sterilization?



Do you use protective tools?



Do patients aware of sterilization?



Do you have idea about waste management ?



Are you aware of disposal of medical waste?



Are you aware of barrier technique?





Details about the results are given in table 1 and 2 and the analysis of the data is graphically represented above.



Increased awareness about risks of transmission of infection through blood and saliva has led to increased use of protective barrier techniques and prevention of communicable diseases. In this study 82% believed that sterilization is a very important part of the daily routine, and 62% were aware about the sterilization protocol. The most common method of sterilization reported by the respondents was autoclaving (93.2%) which is higher than in previous studies (Sofola and Savage 84.1%, Sote 92% and Omolara 79.2%)[12-15].  About 38% of dentists knew the organisations that provide information for sterilization. The use of disinfectants was 60% in this study, compared to 40% who did not use any kind of disinfectants. The use of proper protective devices plays major part in preventing oneself from getting contam­inated during a dental procedure. Kearns et al, in a study of 194 patients attending an ortho­dontic clinic in Ireland found that 97% of patients considered that orthodontists should routinely wear gloves, In present study 70% of the subjects were aware of protectivetools. About 62% of the patients were not aware of the sterilization   Very few of the respondents had a good knowledge about the proper sterilization. When asked about an organization about waste management 66% were unaware of such organization or institute. 34% the dentists were vaccinated. About 86% of the dentists were aware bout the disposal of medical waste.



Sterilization procedures are very important to any good dental practice. These are a part of basic care and handling of patients that your dentist must incorporate to be able to give you quality oral health care. Our mouths are teeming with microbes, and any dental office that sees a large number of patients a day has an inherent potential for spreading infectious germs between patients and dental staff, through contaminated instruments and surfaces.


The dentist, assistant and patient all need sterilized gowns, and all instruments, drills, suction apparatus has to be completely sterilized. Infection control measures not only reduce the chances of getting a dental infection, they also reduce the risk of catching serious diseases like HIV and hepatitis, so choosing a sterile dentist is important to stay healthy!


This research evaluates the knowledge about sterilization and sterilization technique among dentist .This study concluded that knowledge of sterilization among the dentist was satisfactory.


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Received on 10.03.2016          Modified on 05.04.2016

Accepted on 08.05.2016        © RJPT All right reserved

Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 2016; 9(6): 719-721

DOI: 10.5958/0974-360X.2016.00136.0