After using a Single use instruments it can be very tempting to sterilize it and use it again, especially if it appears to be well-made and strong enough to handle it. Unfortunately, this can lead to a slew of issues that do more harm than good to your practice and your patients.
Reusing disposable instruments endangers your patients. Not only is there the risk of cross-contamination, but if single-use products are used more than once, they simply will not be as effective as they should be, regardless of how strong or well-made they appear. This degrades the quality of care you provide and may harm a patient’s experience in your practice.
Why should you only use Single use instruments once?
Endodontic files, air and water syringe tips, saliva ejectors, mirrors, explorers, and a variety of infection control products are among the many Single use instruments products on the market. While these items are useful, the main reason they can only be used once is for patient safety, according to Santagate.
According to Ferone, studies have shown that if instruments aren’t properly cleaned before the autoclave cycle, some abnormal proteins responsible for disease can potentially survive the sterilization cycle, putting your patients and team members at risk.
The advantages of single-use products
According to Santagate, disposable devices are always new. Because they have no wear and tear, there is no doubt about their ability to perform the job for which they were designed. There is no risk of cross-contamination because the product is at its peak strength. Team members can easily and efficiently complete their tasks, which is not the case when using a worn-out instrument.
Ferone also claims that there is no need to track the devices. When reusing instruments, you must devise a good method of tracking them to ensure that they are not used too frequently, whether through color-coded labels or another method.
Would you like to try out a new set of instruments?
“They don’t like answering that question,” says John Ferone, executive director of global endodontic category management at Henry Schein”.
It happens all the time in the medical field, with many healthcare professionals seeing reusing disposable items as a cost-cutting measure. However, it is critical to understand that these products are single-use for a reason. Devices must be tested to demonstrate that they can be used in more than one procedure and produce consistent results each time. If they can’t, they’re only meant for one-time use.
If you want to provide the best care possible for your patients, one way is to become familiar with the FDA’s Single use instruments, understand why it exists, and then actually follow the agency’s recommendations. Single-use products can provide numerous benefits to your practice, but only if they are used correctly.
According to Santagate, FDA guidance on single-use or disposable devices applies to all medical devices that can be packaged sterile or non-sterile depending on their end use. The guidance for Single use instruments states that products should only be used on one patient during a single procedure and then properly disposed of.
Although the guidance is clear, many providers choose not to follow it, primarily because they believe that reusing certain instruments saves them money. When a violation is reported, the manufacturer is notified and is then required to contact the dentist to clarify the single-use instructions, according to Santagate.
“Dental staff can contact the FDA and alert them about misuse. “Anyone can do it,” she says. It is critical to remember that these items are not intended to be reused. These devices have not been tested for use in an autoclave or disinfectant, and putting them through the sterilization process may jeopardize their safety.”
When disposable instruments are used more than once, they are simply not as effective as they should be, according to Santagate. They’re not made of long-lasting materials, so after the first use, they’re no longer as strong as they need to be to do their job. This means that procedures will take longer and your team members will have to work harder to achieve the desired results.
Single use instruments become dull after repeated use, reducing cutting efficiency, according to Ferone. Reused endodontic files are more prone to separation or breakage than new ones, causing major headaches for both you and your patients. How? If a file separates while rotating in the root canal system, you must notify the patient, who must usually visit a specialist to have the case retreated and the file removed. These patients will be dissatisfied with their experience at your practice and may decide not to return.
Why do dentists reuse disposable products?
The answer is straightforward: cost. Dentists want to get the most out of every product they buy, so if they think they can use a disposable product twice or even three times and get the same result, they don’t see why they shouldn’t. The issue is that they aren’t getting the same results, and they are also endangering their patients and team members.