Any medical devices must have a regular maintenance programme in order to ensure that their reliability, efficiency and operating standards remain high. Dental autoclaves also require special cyclical maintenance, which is summarized in accordance with the Euronda guidelines by the illustrative overview below:
- Every 500 cycles or 12 months.
- Every 1000 cycles or 2 years.
- Every 1500 cycles or 3 years.
- Every 2000 cycles or 4 years.
- Every 2500 cycles or 5 years.
- Every 3000 cycles or 6 years.
- Every 3500 cycles or 7 years.
- Every 4000 cycles or 8 years.
Here is how to carry out regular maintenance for a dental autoclave in just five steps.
Step 1: Clean the chamber.
Approximately once every 60 cycles, it is essential to clean the chamber where the instruments are placed in the autoclave, because the steam that is created when the machine is in use may pick up organic residue and deposit it on the support surfaces. It is sufficient to clean the surface and remove any deposits with a medical cleaning product diluted in water. Ensure that every tray is removed and do not use abrasive cleaning products.
Step 2: Clean the filters.
The autoclaves have special dust and bacteria filters which must be taken out and cleaned in order to remove any foreign materials that are trapped in them. The filters must be replaced after 4 years or 10000 cycles. Alternatively, they can be cleaned and disinfected, then rinsed in running water and dabbed dry with a cloth before being put back in place.
Step 3: Clean the water system.
The water system should also be cleaned on a regular basis with delicate, non-abrasive cleaning products. Use water and a cleaning product on a soft sponge to clean the water system thoroughly. Make sure that no residue is left behind from the product being used. The process must be repeated for each tank, if the autoclave has more than one. Finally, the drain pipe must be removed from the quick fitting, cleaned and rinsed.
Step 4: Replace any worn parts.
To ensure that the autoclave remains highly efficient, it is important to check that every part of it is still in good working order. Usually, the gasket is the part that suffers the most wear and tear, so it should regularly be replaced, or cleaned if it is still usable.
Once the gasket has been removed, use a cotton bud soaked in water and a cleaning product to clean its slot and the edge of the chamber door frame carefully, then either replace the clean, damp gasket or put a new one in its place.
Step 5: Use deionized water.
To increase the working life and efficiency of dental autoclaves, it is important to use deionized water so that limescale does not build up in the drain pipes and the water systems, thus affecting its use. As well as damaging the equipment, tap water could also reduce the effectiveness of the sterilization process.
It is necessary to replace any worn or damaged parts in order to ensure that dental autoclaves are working perfectly and prevent any deterioration in their parts, which may make the machines ineffective.