Dental Sharps Disposal
Busy dental practices deal with a large number of patients regularly, with treatment ranges from cleanings, fillings, routine checkups, extractions, and implants to polishing. And the waste from these daily dental practices appears as a serious problem. This waste not only contains plastic bags, gloves, or used water, but it also includes sharp instruments that can be hazardous. Dental sharps disposal is an important practice if a clinic wants to protect the health of their patients, community, and also the environment.
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What Are Sharps?
Sharps include needles, syringes, and other sharp dental tools that are used to penetrate or puncture the skin. Hypodermal syringes, jaw-clippers, and tongue pressers are all included in sharps. Sharps are considered harmful biological waste because of the presence of patients’ blood, body fluids, or chemical disinfectants on them.
Bodily Wastes on Used Sharps
Waste from the patient’s body such as tissue, blood, saliva, excretions, and other fluids can potentially spread infections. If they are not disposed of properly, they may act as a medium for cross infections. This waste should be disposed of through an appropriate clearance company.
Disinfectants and Other Chemicals
Disinfectants or sterilizing agents are commonly known as hazardous waste and must be disposed of right after use. Chemical disinfectants contain active acidic ingredients or reactive organic compounds that should be avoided from dumping into landfills.
The use of steam and dry heat for sterilizing reduces the dependence on damaging chemicals. Similarly, the use of non-chlorinated containers should be encouraged instead of PVC. This helps to minimize the negative impact on the environment.
Protect Your Patients and Staff
The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000 requires dentists and other healthcare professionals to create plans to control and minimize exposure to needle sticks. Most injuries related to sharp instruments in dentistry result from accidental punctures from needles. These accidents’ probability can be reduced by taking a few preventive measures:
- Use approved containers to collect used sharps.
- Keep these containers close to the work area to minimize handling.
- Don’t leave sharp instruments unattended.
- Don’t carry unprotected sharps through areas used by patients.
How Sharps Should Be Disposed
Dental offices need a safe technique or procedure to use and dispose of sharps without affecting the environment. Also, individual protecting devices should be available to the staff whenever required to avoid contact with used sharps. You should consult with an authorized biomedical waste disposal corporation and find out the best practices. Here are some basic recommendations:
- Avoid touching needle-sticks and other sharps bare-handed.
- Sharps should be disposed of in labeled and puncture-proof containers.
- These containers should be placed where they can be easily accessible by the dentists.
- These containers should not be placed near wash areas or electricity sources.
Dental waste management and organization are a vital part of dental practice. Dental offices generate several types of waste that are damaging to the environment and its sustainability. To fully cover the environmentally friendly practices, a dental clinic should also be committed to recycling all kinds of waste they generate. Plastic, paper, and aluminum recycling are all very important practices, but one of the most relevant for dentists is dental scrap recycling.
Dental scrap is a common waste generated in dental offices, but the particular thing about this type of waste is that you can make money recycling it! Dental crowns, bridges, and PFM, all contain precious metals that, when sent to a qualified dental scrap refinery, can generate from $1,000 to $10,000 a year, depending on the amount a clinic generates.
If you have any dental scrap to recycle, consider that Core Scientific is the leading dental scrap refiner in the US. We pay our clients 2 to 5 times more than any other refinery because we keep a policy of 100% transparency, and we use the latest refining and assaying technologies that allow us to recover more materials and pay you more.