Appropriate use of PPE has suddenly become an everyday topic of conversation,
at a time when we are making radical changes to our habits,
behaviour and established procedures.
This applies to everyone, but it is particularly crucial for doctors,
dentists and all health workers. They are at very high risk of exposure to COVID-19
and they must also guarantee maximum safety for their patients.
DXP has the answers to your questions:
Which masks should you use?
Which masks can be sterilized in an autoclave and how should you go about it?
What are the benefits of sterilizing them in an autoclave?
People who work in high-risk places on a daily basis and are in significant danger
of infection – such as the dentists and all of the members
of staff in a dental surgery – must wear FFP2 or FFP3 masks.
FFP2 masks are respirators that provide effective protection for people with low
to medium risks levels. They must be worn by health workers who help people who
have or may have COVID-19.
FFP3 masks are for people with high risk levels. They must be worn by doctors
and health workers who help and look after people who are infected or potentially
infected, especially during procedures that bring about greater aerosolization,
such as intubation, bronchial suction with open systems, and bronchoscopy.
Surgical masks, which are in widespread use, help to prevent the wearer
from passing the virus on to other people.
Masks are the items of personal protective equipment about
which people have the biggest doubts and the most questions.
Which should you wear? How long do they remain effective?
Can they be reprocessed?
In the early stages of the pandemic, the situation was worsened by PPE shortages
and delays in fresh supplies. At the same time, widespread use of single-use face
masks by the general public led to environmental concerns.
Sterilizing and reusing masks is an option that presents benefits in terms
of safety, savings and sustainability.
Of course, it is crucial for appropriate procedures to be followed…
Autoclaving masks ensures that you will always have easy access
to sterile medical devices that are ready for use.
A good mask can be autoclaved many times, thus preventing the environmental damage that
would be caused by the disposal of numerous single-use masks. Always check the information
provided by the mask manufacturer to see the maximum number of sterilization cycles.
It all adds up: if you see 10 patients in one day, you will use at least 20 masks
(10 each for the dentist and the assistant). Over time, sterilizing FFP2 masks in an autoclave
will enable you to make back the initial investment of €100, because you will be using them
for numerous cycles and days. There are clear savings available even if you decide to use
surgical masks, which are single-use and do not perform as well: they cost €0.50 each,
which adds up to €10.00 a day. Sterilizing masks makes great economic sense!
The dxp Domina can sterilize up to 20 FFP2 and FFP3 masks with one B 121 cycle.
That is enough to keep staff and patients safe throughout a whole working day.
The masks must be individually bagged before they are sterilized. At the end of the cycle,
they will be perfectly dry and ready to be used again or stored.
In order to ensure that surgical masks are sterilized properly with the dxp Domina,
great care must be taken over the steps before and after the cycle in the autoclave.
It is crucial to take the following measures:
1. Disinfect your hands and put on new
gloves before you remove a mask, in order
to avoid the risk of self-contamination.
2. Check that the mask is intact and clean
(with a visual inspection).
Do not reprocess dirty masks.
3. Put the mask in a sterilization pouch.
4. Put the masks in the tray horizontally
or vertically to make the most
of the space.
1. Store the masks properly in a dry,
clearly marked place.
2. Fill in the documents required for
the tracking and tracing system.
3. Remove and dispose of your gloves
properly, then carefully disinfect your
If you have any questions, we will be happy to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us by calling +39 0445 820070
or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Sources: all technical information and statements are based on publications, studies and reports by the
Robert Koch Instituts (RKI), Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM)
Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS) https://www.bmas.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Thema-Arbeitschutz/einsatz
schutzmasken-einrichtungen-gesundheitswesen.pdf?__blob=publicationFile, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC),
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:f048c853-7e1d-
4715-b73d-3b506b274a30, as well as the own tests by DXP, Sales Division of NSK Dental Italy S.r.l.