Regulated Medial Waste Removal in Dental Offices
Apr 16, 2015
Are you opening a dental practice? Or maybe you’ve been running one for years and want to make sure your medical waste disposal procedures are still in compliance? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, our Maryland medical waste removal specialists are here to discuss the types of waste and disposal protocols applicable to dental practices.
Regulated Medical Waste
Keep in mind 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 example, when a patient wraps a bubble gum in a tissue before his appointment and throws it into trash, that’s not medical waste. Similarly, 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
Sharps Waste: needles, scalpels, blades orthodontic wires (in some states), dental probes and scalers, glass etc.
Biohazardous waste: blood-saturated swabs, cotton balls, gauze, etc.
Pathological waste: extracted teeth (in some states), tissue and bone fragments
Hazardous waste: 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 autoclaving, 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 BWS.
Getting Started with Your Dental Practice
If you are considering opening your own dental practice and don’t have much experience with medical waste removal, you can get started by exploring 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)
- Maryland Occupational Safety & Health Consultation Program (DLLR)
- Managing Sharps and Other Hazardous Waste in the Dental Office
- Managing Regulated Waste in Dental Environments
Keep in mind that medical waste generated by your dental practice may fall under the jurisdiction of several federal and state organizations, such as CDC, OSHA, EPA, as well as Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene if you are in Maryland. It can be confusing to figure out exactly which rules you need to follow to ensure compliance. As your Maryland waste removal partner, BWS will be happy to help you with advice and guidance. We work with many small and large dental offices and medical practices, and we are familiar with the type of medical waste removal services they typically require.
If you have any questions, feel free to call us or contact online to speak with one of our medical waste removal experts.
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