Choosing Sterilization Pouches

Sterilization Pouches are FDA-regulated products that are a critical part of infection control and patient safety. They are used for the sterilization of dental instruments, ensuring that no bacteria or pathogens live on them.

Self-sealing sterilization pouches are made of high-grade medical paper and a lightly tinted polypropylene/polyester laminate. They include a self-adhesive strip that seals the pouch.

Anatomy of a Self-Sealing Sterilization Pouch

Source: Medicom
  1. High-Grade Medical Paper
  2. Lightly Blue Tinted Film
  3. Adhesive Tape
  4. Folded edge for a tight seal
  5. Multi-layer seal
  6. Thumb notch for opening
  7. Internal Indicator
  8. External Indicator

What Makes a Good Sterilization Pouch?

Ultimately it’s about the safety of your patient and your practice. Here are the guidelines for deciding.

Does the film stick to the paper? If this happens once or twice, just re-sterilize; however, if the pouches are continuously leaving the film on the paper, it’s a sign of low-quality and consider changing.

Is the pouch expired? Sterilization pouches have an expiration date that needs to be followed.

How strong is the seal? A tripped seal or more is recommended as this helps form a perfect bond. The goal here is to ensure that nothing leaks into your instruments while sterilizing.

How secure is the adhesive strip? You want to make sure it’s air-tight and easily sealed

How easy is opening the pouch? Of course you want the seals to be tight, however, high-quality pouches have been designed with opening in mind. Look for a thumb notch that allows you to easily peel off the film after sterilization.

Risks to Be Aware of

  • If the film stays attached to the paper when opening, re-sterilize. The film has been exposed to the air and it is unsafe for instruments to come in contact.
  • Make sure the pouches aren’t too tightly packed and have room to grow. Too tightly packed can rupture the film leaving the instruments exposed.
  • If the sterilization pouches get wet, re-sterilize.
  • It is important to use cycle times and temperatures described in the owner’s manual, and never to interrupt the sterilization cycle.

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