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Carbide Rotary Instruments


Holding and cleaning

After patient treatment, presoak carbide burs in solution to loosen dried debris.  Holding solution may include an enzymatic presoak, a household detergent, or tap water.  (Holding beyond a few hours is not recommended and can encourage corrosion)

To minimize the handling of contaminated sharps and to avoid blade damage on carbides, use of a bur block for cleaning by ultra sonic or washer/disinfector is preferred. After ultrasonic cleaning, it is important to rinse carbide burs thoroughly and allow them to dry.  (The failure to thoroughly remove the residue from ultra sonic cleaner can result in discolored rings around the burs where they sit in the block)

Bur brushes are available in autoclavable or regular style for the manual cleaning of rotary instruments.  It is prudent to use a bur brush after mechanical cleansing when resistant debris cannot otherwise be removed.



The following methods of sterilizing carbide burs are listed in preferred order:

1)      Dry heat sterilizer* 170 degree C (340degree F) for 1 hour

2)      Chemclave-chemical vapor sterilizer* 132degree C (270degree F) for 20 minutes

              * These methods, when used according to manufacturer's instructions, will not significantly corrode or dull carbide burs.

3)      Autoclave-steam under pressure121degree C (250degree F) for 20 minutes @ 15 psi

               This method will effectively sterilize carbide burs, however; the potential for dulling and corrosion is present


Note:  Do not use any of the Cold Sterilizing solutions for the sterilization of carbide burs.  These agents often contain strong oxidizing chemicals that may dull or weaken carbide burs.  In addition, only the heat or heat-pressure systems discussed above can be monitored to assure sterilization has been achieved.


After sterilization, rotary instruments should be checked for signs of wear and damage.  Magnification is recommended for this processed.  Slowly spin instrument, watching for interrupted light reflection on the flutes.  Instruments with broken tips and/or broken sections on flutes should be replaced with new instruments.