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Inside Dentistry
December 2023
Volume 19, Issue 12

Stress-Free Monitoring of Instrument Sterilization

The SciCan StatCLAVE® G4 Chamber Autoclave provides efficiency with peace of mind

Marie T. Fluent, DDS, CDICP

Marie T. Fluent, DDS, CDICP, knew that she wanted to be a dentist when she was just 4 years old. "My mom took me to a pediatric dentist office in downtown Detroit, Michigan, that was located in a skyscraper," she recalls. "Every time I went there, I marveled at how cool the facility was, how clean and fresh it was, and how kind and compassionate the people were. As I attended school, I fell in love with the sciences as well as with working with my hands, and I knew that I belonged in dentistry." Fluent worked in the dental field for her entire adult life, first as a dental assistant, then as a periodontal surgical assistant while attending dental school, then as an associate dentist, and finally, as a practice owner.

Unfortunately, Fluent's time in private practice was cut short about 12 years ago when she discovered that she was losing sight in her left eye. "At that point, I had to shift my role in dentistry to primarily be a consultant, speaker, and author," she says. "But, I made lemonade out of lemons, and now I provide continuing education courses and consult on infection control, OSHA compliance, and antibiotic stewardship in dentistry, and I work as a consultant in those areas for dental offices." Fluent was already passionate about infection control, having started lecturing on the subject as part of her involvement in a study group. "I was extremely lucky in that John Molinari, PhD, offered to mentor me in infection control," she says. "I was so honored to have him as my mentor, and after I gave my first infection control presentation to the study club, I hit the ground running."

When consulting in dental offices, Fluent is able to draw from her own background in private practice to better understand what clinicians are dealing with. "I feel that I have the credibility of having been in the dental chair, so I am able to relate to what dental professionals are going through on a day-to-day basis," she says, "but I also dedicate my time to keeping up to date on the infection control literature because the guidelines, recommendations, and regulations are continually evolving—especially since the COVID-19 pandemic."

One important part of any office's infection control protocol is instrument sterilization, and Fluent highly recommends the SciCan StatClave® G4 Chamber Autoclave. "I have worked with SciCan products for my entire career," she says. "They are always evolving, and that development has continued since SciCan was acquired by Coltene."

Introduced in 2019, the StatClave G4 is one of SciCan's newer developments. It features SciCan's G4 Technology, which allows a number of Coltene's equipment offerings to connect to the internet so that their performance can be monitored in real time. According to Fluent, infection control guidelines are moving toward requiring dental offices to keep track of more mechanical data, so from a compliance perspective, it will be increasingly helpful to have equipment, like the StatClave G4, that automatically records its mechanical data throughout every cycle. "Dental offices need to be monitoring their autoclaves, and this includes mechanical, chemical, and biological monitoring," she explains. "Mechanical monitoring involves looking at all of the parameters for sterility, including the cycle time, temperature, and pressure, and the G4 Technology captures all of that data." The StatClave G4 records that information to show that all of those parameters have been met, and using the G4 Technology's connection to the internet, it can send that information in real time to Coltene headquarters, a local service technician, and/or the dental office. "This is one of the most advantageous features of the StatClave G4," Fluent says. "Coltene has dedicated team members who monitor the performance of all of the sterilization cycles and are able to detect errors or cycle faults before the dental office team members are even aware that there is a problem. They can then call the dental office to alert the team and relay that information to their local service technician so that the issue can be addressed immediately." This real-time monitoring ensures that there is less equipment downtime for dental practices and less opportunity for biological indicator (spore test) failures due to a sterilization cycle issue that went undetected—all of which can provide cost savings for the office.

The StatClave G4 is a Class B autoclave, which means that there is a pre-vacuum cycle to remove air from the chamber prior to sterilization. "What that pre-vacuum cycle does is draw all of the air out of the chamber," Fluent says. "This way, when the steam enters, it can penetrate all of the instruments, packages, and pouches more thoroughly." This also allows for a shorter cycle time. In addition, the StatClave G4 has a post-sterilization vacuum cycle that improves drying, ensuring that instruments emerge from the autoclave completely dry. "It is so important that the instruments are properly dried," says Fluent. "We never want dental personnel handling wet instrument pouches because a wet pouch or packing material will act as a wick and absorb any type of contaminants or microbes from their hands, which compromises sterility. Therefore, that vacuum technology and assurance of dry instrument packages is a very important feature."

With an 11-in chamber, the StatClave G4 can also process more instruments at one time than many other autoclaves (eg, up to four full-size cassettes and four exam cassettes or 20 pouches with included pouch racks). It is also very user friendly and has 6 validated cycles, which indicate exactly what is being processed during each. For example, it can perform wrapped or unwrapped cycles, metal versus plastic cycles, or hollow versus solid instrument cycles. "It is important that you use the correct cycle parameters for whatever you are sterilizing and not combine various cycles. In other words, you cannot process wrapped and unwrapped instruments in the same cycle," Fluent says. "However, the touch screen on the StatClave G4 allows you to select the proper cycle for the type of instruments you are sterilizing. It is self-explanatory and efficient from cycle selection to the start icon and the indication of cycle completion. Furthermore, the machine is easy to load and pretty much operates itself while keeping record of all the parameters for sterilization."

Infection control is critically important to the safety of everyone in the dental office—both patients and team members alike. With ever-changing guidelines, patient care, and other tasks in the dental office, it can be intimidating to stay on top of compliance. However, the StatClave G4 and other G4 Technology-powered equipment can make it easier. "These devices are so slick, it would be rare for a cycle fault to occur," says Fluent. "Nonetheless, you can maintain peace of mind knowing that if an error does occur, you will be notified immediately, and you will have ready access to all of your sterilization records."

Key Points

Fast. StatClave's 11-in chamber, which can accommodate up to four full-size cassettes or 20 pouches, can efficiently sterilize and dry wrapped instrument loads in as little as 38 minutes.

Dry. Closed-door drying and vacuum technology results in perfectly dried instruments every time.

G4 Technology. The ability to connect with and send information to your smart devices or computer puts cycle data, instructions, and maintenance notifications at your fingertips.

Contact information: Coltene |  | 330-916-8800

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