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J Am Dent Assoc. 2011 Nov;142(11):1269-74.

Controlling bacterial contamination of dental impression guns.

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Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, USA.



Dental impression material handgun cartridge dispensers are contaminated easily during clinical use. The authors attempted to quantify contamination by bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), of impression guns used in an academic dental clinic after five infection-prevention protocols were followed.


The authors obtained samples from four commercially available impression guns at four specific sites (button, handle, latch, trigger) after routine clinical use, disinfection, steam sterilization (also known as autoclaving), steam sterilization followed by use of plastic impression gun covers and steam sterilization followed by use of plastic impression gun covers and disinfection.


The authors found that after routine clinical use, bacteria-including MRSA-heavily contaminated the impression guns. After the impression guns underwent disinfection, there was a 6 percent decrease in bacterial counts. The use of steam sterilization achieved sterility without harming the impression guns. Use of steam-sterilized impression guns with plastic impression gun covers decreased bacterial isolates by approximately 60 percent. Use of steam-sterilized impression guns plus covers and disinfection resulted in an approximately 95 percent reduction in contamination.


The use of common infection-prevention methods appears to reduce the bacterial counts, including those of MRSA. Bacterial contamination was lowest after steam sterilization, followed by the use of plastic impression gun covers and disinfection.


Use of contaminated impression guns on successive patients could increase the risk of causing cross-transmission of disease. The use of sterilization, plus plastic impression gun covers and disinfection, for impression guns after each use could be an effective and practical infection-control method for dental practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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