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Objectives: To examine the regular practice of autoclave monitoring and autoclave dental packaging in Bangkok dental offices, Thailand.
Method and Materials: A preliminary questionnaire interview was performed in 52 private clinics in 2006 and a postal questionnaire was sent out to 629 hospital and private clinics in 2013. Questions included practices on 3 modes of sterilization monitoring: mechanical, chemical, and biological, as well as the types of packaging used.
Results: The response rate of the 2013 survey was 18% (n=113). We found improved formal education in infection control but understanding in the significance of autoclave performance monitoring was still low. Mechanical monitoring was performed the most (90.2%) compared with other types of monitoring. External and internal chemical monitoring were applied in 75% and 33% of all clinics, respectively. Biological monitoring was done in 17.9% of clinics surveyed. Only 2% performed all types of monitoring. The disposable paper/plastic pouch was the main packaging material (92.9%) for autoclave, among these 78.1% reused the pouch. Each paper/plastic pouch was reused most frequently 3 times before disposal. Hospital clinics performed better monitoring in all aspects and reused the pouch less than in private clinics.
Conclusion: Sterilization monitoring of an autoclave machine was inadequate among Bangkok dental offices and knowledge could be the contributing factor to poor practices as formal education was low. Reuse of a paper/plastic pouch was a routine practice but its impact was unknown. There is a need of better education on infection control and further study on the validity of pouch reuse.
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