For California dentists: Q Review — Winter 2017

Testing all your office sterilizers each week is required by the California Dental Board.* This requirement includes using biologic indicators and testing all sterilizers, even those used infrequently or as backup.

Proper functioning of the sterilization cycle is verified by using biologic (spore) indicators. Biologic indicators consist of highly resistant bacterial spores of Geobacillus stearothermophilus for steam and chemical vapor sterilizers, or Bacillus atrophaeus for dry heat sterilizers.

Other types of indicators, such as paper strips or packaging that changes color under heat and pressure, are not substitutes for biologic indicators.

In addition, every sterilization cycle that contains implantable devices should be monitored with a biologic indicator and the implantable devices quarantined until the biologic indicator test results are known.

During an onsite Quality Assessment review, the examiner checks your in-office spore testing log to ensure your compliance with regulations. Be sure to:

  • Keep sterilizer test results for the previous 12-months and have them available during the review.
  • Note in your log the weeks that the office is not open to treat patients (since weekly testing is required).
  • Remove sterilizers from your office that are not tested weekly.


* California Code of Regulations 16 CCR § 1005[b] [17] Minimum Standards for Infection Control.