Do you want to start a dental practice? Or maybe you’ve already had one for years and want to be convinced your medical waste disposal procedures are still in compliance? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, our Southern California and Glendale medical waste disposal specialists are here to discuss the types of waste and disposal protocols applicable to dental practices.
Regulated Medical Waste
Always remember that only regulated medical waste requires special treatment and proper disposal. Not all waste generated by your dental practice will be regulated or even medical. For instance, when a patient wraps a bubble gum in a tissue before his appointment and throws it into trash, that’s not medical waste. In the same way, a cotton ball that you dropped on the floor by accident may be medical waste, but it’s not regulated.
Typically, medical waste is regulated when it’s contaminated with blood, saliva or other potentially infectious bodily fluids. So, a cotton ball will become regulated medical waste if it’s soaked with blood. There are also varieties of hazardous and pathological waste your practice may produce that require specific disposal procedures as well.
Types of Regulated Medical Waste in Dental Practices
Needles, scalpels, blades orthodontic wires (in some states), dental probes and scalers, glass etc.
Blood-saturated swabs, cotton balls, gauze, etc.
Extracted teeth (in some states), tissue and bone fragments
Dental amalgam (including chair-side amalgam traps, amalgam filling materials and residues, amalgam capsules and extracted teeth that contain amalgam), lead foil, x-ray film, certain disinfectants, adhesives and processing chemicals.
How to Dispose of Regulated Medical Waste
The specific ways of disposal of the above regulated medical waste will depend on the type of waste, whether it’s solid, liquid, hazardous or sharp. All waste needs to be properly collected at the point of generation and securely bagged according to the OSHA, CDC and EPA regulations. Certain dental instruments may be considered reusable and can be sterilized through on-site autoclave, or transported to a third-party facility for sterilization. Single-use instruments and other types of regulated medical waste will need to be disposed of through a registered medical waste removal company such as Glycon.
Getting Started with Your Dental Practice
If you want to open your own dental practice and don’t have much experience with medical waste removal, you can explore the following resources:
- Waste Management in Dental Office (NCBI/NIH)
- Recommended Infection Control Practices for Dentistry (CDC)
- A Guide to Compliance with OSHA Standards for Medical & Dental Offices (OSHA)
- Managing Sharps and Other Hazardous Waste in the Dental Office
- Managing Regulated Waste in Dental Environments
Remember that medical waste created by your dental practice may fall under the jurisdiction of several federal and state organizations, such as CDC, OSHA, EPA, and also Los Angeles Department of Health and Mental Hygiene if you are in Southern California. You may be confused to point out exactly which rules you have to follow to ensure compliance. As your Southern California waste removal partner, Glycon will willingly help you with advice and guidance. We work with many small and large dental offices and medical practices, and we know the type of Regulated Medial Waste Removal services they typically need
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us (844) 494-8222 to speak with one of our Regulated medical waste removal experts.