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Sterilization and Disinfection of Patient-Care Items in Oral Healthcare Settings

Course Number: 474

Methods of Sterilization and Disinfection

Heat tolerant critical and semi-critical items must be sterilized by steam, unsaturated chemical vapor, or dry heat.2,3 Heat-sensitive critical items can be sterilized by ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma; or by immersing them in liquid chemical germicides registered by the FDA as chemical sterilants.2,3,6 Heat-sensitive semi-critical items minimally must undergo high-level disinfection with a chemical sterilant used as a high-level disinfectant. Non-critical items (clinical contact surfaces), when visibly soiled, must be disinfected with an EPA-registered hospital level intermediate-level disinfectant.2-4,7-9