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07 March 2017 - Category: Autoclaves

Which Autoclave is Best for Dental Clinics in Australia?

By Peter Branton

Autoclaves are items of equipment that are used in dental practices to sterilize all of the instruments and materials used in professional procedures. They must meet the Australian & New Zealand Standards AS/NZS4185 “Office-based healthcare facilities - Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment”. In addition to the local standards, the International Standard ISO 13060 covers the use of small steam sterilizers for dental practices.

The AS/NZS4815 standard defines an autoclave as a “Colloquial term for a steam-under-pressure sterilizer.” Some important highlights have been included below:

“Currently, moist heat, in the form of steam under pressure, is the most dependable, economical and quickest medium known for the destruction of microbial life.”
“The production of items required to be sterile for use depends not only on the correct medium being selected for the item to be processed and the validation of the sterilization process itself, but also on cleaning and disinfection processes, facility design/workflow, prevention of contamination, and effective quality control, prior to, during and after the sterilizing process.”

Before you begin researching which autoclave is best for your dental practice, it is important to understand the differences between the three main types: Class N, Class S and Class B.

Class N autoclaves are compact and they are for sterilizing simple materials. The letter "N" stands for "naked solid products". Therefore, these autoclaves cannot be used to sterilize textiles, porous loads, hollow items or even products in pouches, as the cycles do not have the right characteristics to pass specific physical tests. Another possible weakness of these machines is that the required steam penetration cannot be guaranteed. It is important to note that these machines are not required to create a vacuum at the beginning of each cycle.

Class B autoclaves have a small footprint but their performance levels are comparable to those of the largest machines in hospitals. The letter "B" stands for "Big” small sterilizer, because they are small machines that offer big performance. Any type of load can be sterilized in a Class B autoclave. This includes porous materials, products in pouches, textiles and hollow items such as wands, turbines and tips. The European Norm for equipment of this kind is EN 13060, which is specifically dedicated to small steam sterilizers (i.e. machines with a sterilization chamber that is smaller than the sterilization unit). The standard distinguishes between sterilization cycles on the basis of the materials being sterilized (solid loads, type A solid loads with hollow sections and type B solid loads with hollow sections). 

Finally, Type S covers all of the other types of autoclaves. Essentially, it is an intermediate class between Type N and Type B autoclaves and the characteristics are not defined by any standards. It simply depends how they are made. Only the manufacturers can provide details of their performance capabilities, which are established by specific tests.

Therefore, the best autoclave for dental practices in Australia is a Class B autoclave, because it offers greater flexibility and is suitable for a wide range of settings. Although they are small, Class B autoclaves can offer outstanding performance, unbeatable efficiency and the highest possible safety standards. Their key features include easy handling thanks to their ergonomic designs and energy savings due to their low power consumption. User-friendly Class B autoclaves are the epitome of hygiene and safety, as well as practicality and comfort.

Gallay is a leading supplier of premium quality Class B Autoclaves to customers throughout Australia & new Zealand. To find out more about Gallay's range of Class B Dental Autoclaves, call 1300 GALLAY (1300 425 529) and speak with a product specialist today.