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CPT Medical

Difference Between Moist Heat and Dry Heat for Custom Trays


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A custom tray is a medical equipment that requires you to sterilize so as to kill the bacteria and other disease-causing organisms present on the surface. If left unsterilized, the patient could be exposed to several harmful microorganisms which may end up causing more harm. As such, a custom tray has to be free from germs always and more especially during the procedure. Sterilization of a custom tray can be achieved in two ways:

• Dry heat

Despite being a method that has been used for many years, dry heat method has often been misunderstood. Unlike in moist heat sterilization method where high temperature is used in performing sterilization, here heated air is used to achieve the same. Additionally, the temperatures in this method are relatively higher than in the moist heat method. The disease-causing microorganisms are killed through the destructive oxidation process. This process helps to terminate large biomolecules such as proteins. The organism will eventually die due to the destruction of some of the most vital components of the cell. It is, however, most suitable for the equipment which is resistant to heat

• Moist heat sterilization

For moist heat sterilization, water at high-pressure level is used for sterilizing instruments like a custom tray, and the process is carried out in autoclaves. Although the temperature of steam in this method of sterilization is relatively lower than its dry heat counterpart, the pressure helps to effect sterilization properly. The moist heat destroys the structural proteins of the disease-causing organism on the surface of a custom tray. Eventually, this results in the death of the organisms on the surface of the custom tray. This method is effective in that it takes a shorter time to complete the whole sterilization process and in low temperatures too.

• Dry heat and steam heat efficacy

While you can achieve the same results in many loads, including a custom tray, with both methods, certain tasks are impossible while using a steam autoclave like loads that are hydrophobic or ones that will be damaged when exposed to moisture. As well, dry heat is useful for instruments such as a custom tray, which may experience corrosion.

Even as you can use dry heat method on a myriad of equipment, including a custom tray, it is, by no means, all purpose. Liquids, for instance, unlike a custom tray, cannot be sterilized using the method and neither can be growth media. Unlike a custom clay, dense loads are a problem too since the convection process does not penetrate them.

• Dry heat sterilizer versus steam autoclave efficiency

Although many loads like a custom tray can be sterilized by using either moist or dry heat, steam sterilizers consume less time and energy compared to dry heat. For a resistant spore to be killed by dry heat, the load in a dry heat sterilizer must be brought to 170 degrees centigrade and maintained there for as long as one hour. On the other hand, a steam autoclave only needs to be raised to 121 degrees centigrade for as short as fifteen minutes. This is because the steam is an excellent conductor of heat and is, therefore, able to permeate loads. As a result, there is significant cost saving when you use a steam heat sterilizer compared to dry heat sterilizer.

The above are some of the basic differences between dry and moist heat sterilization methods. Using either of them, ensure your equipment are properly sterilized. A custom tray is particularly one instrument you don’t want to forget to sterilize.