b. Load Control Number (LCN). The LCN consists of seven digits. The first
two digits designate the assigned number of each sterilizer. A clinic may have five or
six sterilizers, and the LCN tells which sterilizer was used. The third, fourth, and fifth
digits designate the Julian calendar day (For example, 365 is December 31st [assuming
it is not a leap year] and 006 is January 6th). The sixth and seventh digits designate the
number of times a sterilizer is used in a 24-hour period. If the spore test is positive on a
particular sterilizer, the LCN will enable the user to recall only those items that are
identified by the first two digits. Thus, this system enables personnel to establish
control over instruments "sterilized" in a malfunctioning sterilizer. It is required also that
all packages be marked visibly with an expiration date using the day/month/year format.
c. The Sterilizer Logbook. A sterilizer logbook must be maintained. The
dental specialist must enter the load information, to include the sterilizer number, the
date, the LCN, the expiration date, the contents of the load, the signature of the
operator (written at the time of load), and the results of spore testing.
d. Inventory Control. Sterilized items have a shelf life determined by the type
of wrapping used (see figure 2-2), the storage conditions, the conditions during
transport, and the amount of handling. For inventory control, the day on which items
are sterilized is considered the first day of the shelf life if they are stored in a dust-free
area. All sterilized items must be labeled with the LCN and the expiration date. If
packages are found with expired dates, the packages must be repackaged and
e. Shelf Life. Sterilized items have a shelf life determined by the type of
wrapping used (See figure 2-2). The day on which items are sterilized is considered the
first day of the shelf life if they are stored in a dust-free area. All sterilized items must
be labeled with the LCN and the expiration date.
2-14. HANDLING PROCEDURES FOR STERILE ITEMS
a. General. The proper handling of sterile items will prevent injury and cross
infection. The dental specialist should follow recommended guidelines when using
b. Guidelines. Standard guidelines follow.
(1) Mask and sterile gloves. All instruments from the sterilization or
disinfection cycle must be handled with mask and sterile gloves. Surgery and certain
specialized procedures require the use of sterile gloves and mask.