Dental Tribune USA
W&H President Peter Malata and Service Manager Josef Erbschwendtner try sterilized face masks from one of the company's autoclaves. (Photo: Provided by W&H Dentalwerk)

‘All W&H sterilizers kill the coronavirus’

October 05, 2020

As a pioneer and market leader in sterilization, the Austria-based company W&H is renowned for developing high-quality sterilization devices for the dental practice. Dental Tribune talked to W&H President and CEO Ing. Peter Malata to find out what are the appropriate sterilization levels now needed in the dental office.

How is W&H dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic?

We are supporting the health-care systems locally. This ranges from donations of sterilizers in especially affected regions to special rental offers in other areas.

We of course have ensured that all our employees are working in a safe environment and that all people who can work from home are working from home. For the rest of our workers, we have ensured the safest working conditions.

Has the pandemic changed biosecurity needs in the dental office?

Definitely. Even though dentists were already, before the pandemic, the medical profession that used more protective equipment than any other medical profession, dental practices are now putting additional measures in place, such as having less patients in their waiting rooms, complete room disinfection after each patient and avoiding clinical procedures that create high volumes of aerosols.

Which are the appropriate autoclaves for dentistry?

Class B autoclaves provide the highest level of protection. They even have been approved in several countries for reprocessing protective equipment for doctors treating coronavirus patients. All W&H sterilizers kill the coronavirus.

What exactly are these Class B sterilizers?

There are different types of autoclaves: Class N, Class S and Class B. Class N autoclaves use hot steam to displace the air and sterilize. While this is an effective way of killing different viruses on plain surfaces, it cannot be guaranteed that it kills all viruses on all surfaces. Class S sterilizers work on the same principle, being effective for sterilizing simple instruments.

Then you have Class B sterilizers. Using a vacuum pump to completely remove the air from the chamber of the instrument allows for better penetration of steam to ensure that the load is 100 percent sterilized before its use. This makes Class B sterilizers the most versatile, effective and compact tabletop sterilizers on the market that are able to efficiently and effectively sterilize any load, including hollow instruments.

Can these Class B autoclaves sterilize facemasks?

W&H sterilizers can assure sterility on FFP2 and FFP3 masks. Several countries have now changed their official recommendations for the use of reprocessed masks to allow for their use in medical treatments.

What about the inside of handpieces?

Class S sterilizers provide reliable and safe sterilization for solid and simple hollow body instruments.

What are the coronavirus lessons for dentistry?

There are many aspects to be considered. But I believe the most important lesson is that implementing adequate reprocessing and infection control procedures can ensure the safest level of working conditions in the dental office.

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