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

Course Number: 474

Semi-critical Patient-care Items

During the course of their intended use, semi-critical items contact, but do not penetrate nonintact skin or mucous membrane.2-4 In oral healthcare settings semi-critical items such as mouth mirrors, amalgam condensers, reusable dental impression trays, cheek retractors, dental handpieces, air-water syringes and orthodontic pliers confer a lower risk of infection. Heat-tolerant semi-critical items, including all dental handpieces, must be heat sterilized.2,3 Heat-sensitive semi-critical items must minimally undergo high-level disinfection with an FDA-registered chemical sterilant used as a high-level disinfectant.2,3,6