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Protective measures in the dental practice

  • Good hygiene management is an essential part of everyday work in dental practices.

    Especially nowadays, the focus on hygiene and protective measures for patients and staff has increased. Wearing protective masks and protective clothing are two important measures to reduce the risk of infection in the practice and during dental treatment.

    Possible risks of infection also include the "aerosols" released during dental treatment. The right protective gear can help to keep patients and staff save.


  • Review: “Reprocessing single use facemasks, YES but…” by Christian Stempf

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Reprocessing as a capacity strategy

Reprocessing of masks
Important recommendations !!!

In times like these, limited supply of disposable masks leads to a lack of personal protective equipment and requires a solution for this exceptional period. Reprocessing is currently a frequently addressed topic in this case!

Because steam sterilization already plays a particularly important role in the reprocessing of medical devices and is now proving a suitable approach for decontaminating masks amongst other methods. It is important that the masks meet the requirements of the conformity assessment standards, norms and guidelines of their country of origin.

According to latest scientific recommendations and reports after reprocessing FFP2/FFP3 masks (for single use), the filter effect and respiratory capacity should be maintained during steam sterilization. We are referring to a specified steam sterilization process presented in a publication of the Delft University of Technology (2, 3), official recommendations of Austrian Authorities (1) and the Alberta Health Services (4, 5).

Based on the reported process for decontamination of masks (2) W&H tested the decontamination of FFP2/FFP3 masks with W&H sterilizer in order to verify the correct handling, loading and the process of sterilization. Steam sterilization with 121°C cycle is suitable for FFP2/FFP3 masks with or without an exhalation valve.

With optimal loading in a W&H Sterilizer, approx. 40 to 60 masks can be reprocessed per one sterilization cycle (depending on masks, on their size and loading scheme). For reprocessing and the safe reuse or extended use protective masks, please always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for use as the principle sources of information and recommendations.

Important recommendations!

  • Steam sterilization in 121°C cycle is suitable for FFP2/FFP3 masks with or without an exhalation valve. Currently, it is possible to reprocess between 40 to 60 masks with one cycle process (depending on size and loading scheme)
  • The steam sterilized masks can be reused one to five times by the documentation of the sterilization cycles on the packaging. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for use as the principle sources of information about reprocessing of the masks.
  • Before using a reprocessed mask please check the components of the mask such as the straps, nose bridge, and rest of material that it has not been harmed and affect the quality of the fit.
  • Make sure that the reprocessed sterile masks are separated from masks that have not yet been reprocessed.
  • Please do not secure used, still moist masks in closed containers. This may lead to the proliferation of bacteria and moulds.
  • Recommendation: Sterilize the masks wrapped to maintain the sterility and avoid contamination during handling and transport.

In times like these, W&H as your point of contact with 130 years of experience and its know-how in medical technology, supports you in an emergency and exceptional situation.

  • The protection of you, your employees and customers
  • Reduced quantities and costs
  • Rapid increase of the stock turnover
  • The avoidance of high transport costs
  • More independence from transport and delivery times
  • Sustainable protection of the environment

Which type of masks can be sterilized?
FFP2, FFP3, surgical masks.

How often can I sterilize used masks?
The steam sterilized masks can be reused one to five times (by the documentation of the sterilization cycles on the packaging).

Importantly, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for use as the principle sources of information about reprocessing of the masks.

How do I sterilize the masks?
Pack the mask in a sterilization/laminate pouch and observe the loading scheme. The masks can be packed both in sterilization wrapping paper or in pouches (sterilization wrapping paper is less critical when overlapped).

  • Place paper side to paper side and plastic side to plastic side.
  • Place the masks horizontally or vertically into the tray in order to optimize the loading.

How many masks can be sterilized?
40-60 masks with one sterilization cylce (depending on the size of the masks)

Are there any guidelines that must be observed?
Yes, please observe following protective measures when reprocessing the masks:

  • Disinfect your hands and put on fresh gloves, to remove and secure the mask (to avoid the risk of self-contamination through unconscious touching of the face).
  • Please note the correct loading scheme. (see above)
  • Check the mask for intactness and cleanliness (visual inspection). Do not reprocess dirty masks.
  • If the mask is not reprocessed immediately, please secure it in a suitable and well-marked container in a dry place only accessible to trained personnel.
  • Complete the required documentation to trace the reprocessing process.
  • Remove and dispose the gloves properly. Then carry out a thorough hand disinfection.

Download: Whitepaper 'Sterilization of protective masks'

Infection prevention
with W&H

  • W&H – Advanced Infection prevention Management Solutions (AIMS)

    A step-by-step guide through the hygiene workflow to interrupt the chain of infection.Thanks to many years of experience as a medical device manufacturer, we have also built up appropriate know-how in the reprocessing of dental instruments.

    We are responsible for the manufacture and maintenance of our products and our products are designed for each other…
  • W&H tip People have Priority with W&H
    In times like these, we have to take care of ourselves and our families. But also on our tools such as our sterilizers. Here we have valuable tips on how to maintain your sterilizer even during longer downtimes.

    If your sterilizer can not be used for at least seven days, please observe the steps below:
    • Download all cycle data from your SD card/USB drive.
    • Switch OFF the sterilizer and remove the mains cable.
    • Drain the water from both tanks (used and main water tank) completely.
    • Clean the main water tank and dry the tanks with a lint-free cloth (except LISA MB, the openings of the tank are too small). Access and cleaning of the water tanks, see video.
    • Turn off the water supply for sterilizers with an automatic water filling valve at the water treatment system.
    • Rinse the filter system of your water treatment system regularly. Rinse the Multidem with at least 6 litres of water before use. If the water quality is no longer OK (strong smell), please replace the cartridge.
    To prevent contamination (algae formation)/damage, it is important to remove all liquids.
  • People have Priority with W&H
    Infection protection in the dental practice primarily includes the correct use of personal protective equipment: protective clothing, gloves, safety goggles as well as mouth and nose protection.

    Protective clothing protects at all activities with a particular risk of infection.

    Protective clothing is worn as re-usable or disposable clothing in addition to practice clothing. For example, washable and disinfectable rubber aprons for pre-cleaning medical devices; or long-sleeved sterile scrubs, which are particularly suitable for the treatment of potentially infectious patients because they completely cover the practice clothing. The practice clothing does not offer any special protection and must be changed daily or in case of visible dirt or contamination. Especially at treatments with aerosol containing pathogens, contamination occurs and the corresponding hygienic preparation (thermal or chemothermal) is required.

    This is where the universal applicability of class B sterilizers comes into play: Put your scrubs into the Lisa sterilizer – program B-Universal 121 for porous loads – for blocking microorganism!*

    *Only use dry sterile items. Please see also EN 13795 1-3.
  • Remembering knowledge

    We know, you are always ensuring proper hygiene and maintenance in your daily work (in your practice) and thus the well-being of your patients and finally your own health.

    And we take care of you and would like to support you in the best possible way: with our know-how, service and expertise. Together we can reduce the risk of infection in your practice in the long term and at the same time extend the service life of your instruments.

    Please contribute to your personal protection by using personal protective equipment:
    • wear mask, gloves, safety goggles and protection clothes
    • wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water
    • avoid shaking hands and hugging, give a smile instead
    • use an appropiate hand disinfector

People have Priority

  • W&H is taking selective measures to interrupt the chain of infection. And everyone needs to do their part: Please contribute to your personal protection by using personal protective equipment such as mask, gloves and safety goggles!

    Being aware of the current covid-19 situation, we draw attention again to the importance of the hygiene workflow. Germs can also be transmitted through contaminated dental instruments. For 130 years, W&H has lived by the core principle "People have Priority". Rest assured your health, the well-being of patients and of course your business are an important motivating factor for us.

    As a manufacturer of medical devices, it is our responsibility to inform you about the most important hygiene measures. With many years of experience in the reprocessing of dental instruments and our know-how concerning the manufacturing of corresponding devices, we will guide you step by step through the hygiene workflow. In this way, we can provide you with the best possible support in your day-to-day operations and in your dental practice, ensuring best practice reprocessing and thus your personal protection.
    People have Priority with W&H
  • Innovative reprocessing
    Interrupting the chain of infection

    Within the next weeks we will guide you through the hygiene process to ensure best practice reprocessing of dental instruments and thus your personal protection.
    What is the chain of infection?

    The chain of infection is the way of transmitting an infection from one host to another. Hosts can be humans, animals, but also other environmental components. The transfer can take place mutually.

    The infection chain consists of six different links: first, the pathogen. In second place is the reservoir, where the pathogens replicate and can cause further infections. Third, the portal of exit, for example through sneezing or coughing (airborne infection) or other body fluids.

    The modes of transmission, the fourth link in the chain, take place indirectly by touching living beings or contaminated objects or directly, by smear infection. Now the portal of entry opens the door for the pathogen. This means that the pathogens eventually reach the next susceptible host through the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, nose, the digestive system or excoriations. People with a weakened immune system are particularly affected. (The time between contamination and onset of symptoms is called the incubation.)
    However, this chain of infection can be interrupted through various means and on each link. W&H is taking selective measures with Advanced Infection prevention Management Solutions.

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  • Interrupting the chain of infection with the power of W&H products

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