Sterilizer Monitoring Service

We must all be concerned about infection control these days. Transmissible diseases such as AIDS, Herpes and Hepatitis B are getting a lot of coverage in the dental journals as well as in the popular press. You, your dental staff and your patients want to be assured that you are using infection control methods which comply with the recommendations of Federal and State governmental agencies and the American Dental Association. These agencies have established guidelines calling for strict infection control practices in dental offices. The ADA and CDC recommend weekly testing using biological monitoring to verify the adequacy of sterilization cycles for dental practices.

As of December, 2003, the State of Maryland requires compliance with the CDC guidelines on universal precautions:

“Monitor sterilizers at least weekly by using a biological indicator with a matching control.”

The Sterilizer Monitoring Service that we provide meets all of these criteria.

Heat sensitive tape and bag markings do not provide evidence of sterilization. Their sole purpose is to indicate that the package has been sent through the sterilizer. One sure and economical way to check for sterilization is to run endospores through the sterilizer and culture them for growth. Endospores are considered the most difficult organisms to kill. If they are killed in a sterilizer, it is assumed that all other forms of life, including HIV (the AIDS virus), Herpes and Hepatitis B are also killed.

To assure ourselves and our patients that the sterilization methods we use are effective, biological monitoring has become a requirement for the dental community. To meet this requirement, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry is pleased to offer all practitioners of dentistry and all sterilizer users a Sterilizer Monitoring Service.


Once a week (for dental offices) or once a month, you will send a provided packet containing two spore strips to our office. Each packet contains spore strips that have been inoculated with spores of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus stearothermophilus, highly resistant but non-pathogenic organisms.

You will run one spore strip through your sterilizer in a typical load of instruments. The other strip is left in the packet as a control. Both are returned to us in the pre-addressed mailer. Your processed test strip and control strip will be cultured, incubated (7 days), read and the results forwarded to you on a confidential month-end computerized reporting statement.

If growth of organisms occurs, we will contact you immediately (confidentially) by telephone to discuss the possible reasons for failure to achieve sterilization. An immediate retest of your sterilizer may be requested and additional strips provided as needed.


Return your completed application and we will mail to you our contract and the terms and conditions under which this service is provided. Upon receipt of the contract as executed by you, we will send out your spore strip packets and mailers with detailed instructions. We will also send you a “Certificate of Participation” for display in your office. For additional information, please call: Dr. Timothy F. Meiller at (410) 706-3434.


Name: ____________________________

Address: _____________________________________________________________

Telephone: _________________________

Please indicate whether you wish weekly or monthly monitoring. ________ Weekly ($350 [1], $600 [2], $800 [3] per year) ________ Monthly ($95 [1], $175 [2], $240 [3] per year) (out-of-Maryland)

Please print and return this completed application to:

Dr. Timothy F. Meiller

Department of Diagnostic Sciences and Pathology, 7-North

University of Maryland School of Dentistr

650 W. Baltimore St.

Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1586