Want to easily add a great service for patients? How many of them have dirty appliances or removable dentures or partial dentures? My guess is a lot of them. 

Sure, they can brush and soak them at home, but just like home care alone is not enough of for mouth, it is often not enough for their removable items either. The good news is it easy for us to help, and most of our patients love it when we do. Keep reading to find out how.

How to help your patients clean their appliances

The biggest item you need is one you should already have in your office, and that is the ultrasonic you use to clean your instruments. The next thing you need is a dedicated solution designed to clean whatever item your patient has. 

If you are wondering exactly which solution to buy, there are several to pick from, so I would just ask the material manufacturer what they recommend - or, of course, another great person to ask is your supply representative. 

Once you have these two things, the next hurdle is to figure out how you are going to handle the infection control during the process. The issue here is the fact that you are taking a device that goes in your patient's mouth and putting it in an ultrasonic that will be far from sterile. 

Sure, you clean your ultrasonic daily, but it is still going to have PLENTY of bugs in it. While it’s not a big deal if you are going through your autoclave after their ultrasonic bath, as we know, if you put oral appliances, dentures or partials in your autoclave, they will be ruined. 

So it all comes down to isolation of each individual item you put in your ultrasonic that you can’t run through your autoclave afterwards. How do you accomplish this?

One possibility, at least technically, would be to put the item in question in a Ziploc bag or bags and throw it in the ultrasonic. The issue and concern I have with this is: how often have you seen one of these bags leak? We all have.

While it’s frustrating when you are flying and some of the liquids you put in your bag leak out, it is fair to say the stakes are much higher here. We are talking about putting something in our patient's mouth without sterilizing it, and if your bag leaks even a tiny bit, whatever it is in will be grossly contaminated.

What we do in my office is put said item in a Ziploc bag (this is a single use bag, so it keeps your beaker clean and keeps the aerosols generated by the ultrasonic from contacting said item), but then the bag goes into a beaker that rests in a plexiglass lid we made with a hole cut out for the beaker to sit in, as you see here:

cleaning patient appliances
cleaning patient appliances in ultrasonic

Is this overkill? Maybe, but in my book, I would rather be safe than sorry, and it is super easy to make. Just take a sheet of plexiglass and cut the size you need to sit over the ultrasonic basket. Then cut a hole for your beaker - just make sure you get a beaker with a rubber band around it, as this is what stops it from going too deep into your hole. 

John R. Carson, DDS, PC, Spear Visiting Faculty. www.johnrcarsondds.com