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4. Periodontic and Endodontic Instruments


a. Alcohol Bath on a Cotton Roll. Endodontic files and reamers should be cleaned by being placed in a cotton roll saturated with alcohol and rotated counterclockwise. While pinching the cotton, the dental assistant withdraws the instrument. This procedure removes debris from the furrows of instruments. It is repeated as often as necessary.

b. Inspection of Instruments. At this time, the dental assistant should inspect instruments for any remaining debris and signs of wear or instrument strain. Instrument strain is recognized by sharp bends, stretching of the metal (convolutions appear uneven), or rusting. These changes appear most often at the tip end of the instrument. A broken instrument in a root canal often causes failure.

c. Sterilizing and Storing. After the instruments have been examined, they should be sterilized and replaced in the instrument cabinet. Barbed broaches are used once and discarded.

d. Special Care for Burs. All burs used in treatment should be cleaned with a bur brush, sterilized, and replaced in their working order. The burs should not be placed in water. It will rust them. Also, sterilization solutions should have a rust-inhibiting agent (such as sodium nitrate) added.

e. The Cleaning of Surgical Equipment. All surgical equipment should be scrubbed with soap and water, reassembled into the surgical pack, and autoclaved.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015