Scanning Microscopy


Observations were made in an institutional setting on the quality of cleaning of dental burs. Assessments were made by scanning electron microscopy of surface contamination and change to the surface quality of burs before and after use, and as a result of different cleaning procedures.

The most significant finding was the corrosive action on carbon steel burs of a phosphoric acid based cleaning solution in routine use at the time. We show by comparison the effectiveness and non-corrosive nature of an alternative detergent based on sulfamic acid, and propose a suitable cleaning routine.

Two other findings are presented: new burs as unpackaged are unacceptable for use without first being subjected to a cleaning process (we recommend a suitable procedure); and there is a need for distilled water rather than tap water rinsing after detergent use.

It is an important part of an institution's responsibility to monitor cleaning, sterilizing and supply services; the scanning electron microscope is a valuable adjunct in this aspect of quality assurance.

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