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3. Surgical Instruments


A working knowledge of oral surgical procedures is a necessity for the dental specialist. The nature of the work done in oral surgery requires that everything that may be needed during an operation be available immediately. The dentist will be at the chair-side with the patient; therefore, it is imperative that the specialist understands the operation and is able to recognize instruments in order to save time.

a. Variation in Procedures. Procedures followed in sterilizing, storing, and preparing instruments for oral surgery will depend upon the desires of the oral surgeon, the extent and volume of surgery done, and the facilities available. Most oral surgery services have sterilizing facilities adequate to handle all their needs; others must depend upon medical service sterilizing facilities for autoclaving. Some oral surgeons have complete sets of instruments and materials autoclaved in packs to meet the needs of each commonly performed surgical procedure. Some have the items sterilized and stored separately but have them assembled into sets before each operation. Others have just the minimum number of instruments set out and additional ones obtained as needed. In some oral surgery services, the sterile items are stored in cabinets. In others, they are stored on shelves or on tables covered with sterile drapes. In any case, aseptic procedures must be carefully followed to maintain sterility. Scrupulous cleanliness of the oral surgical suite is an absolute necessity to prevent any contamination.

b. Steps of Procedure. In arranging the surgical tray or other work areas, the first step is to drape the area with sterile (autoclaved) towels. The next step is to lay out the instruments and other materials in the order in which they are to be used. The final step is to cover the setup with a sterile towel until the dentist is ready for its use.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015