Adams School of Dentistry: Infection Control Manual - Chapter 08: Engineering Controls & Work Practices

Single-Use/Disposable Items - Usage & Availability

Single-Use items, or also referred to as a disposable device, are designated as such per the US Food and Drug Administration and is intended for use on one (1) patient during a single procedure. Single-Use items are not intended and are not permitted to be reprocessed and used on another patient by any Adams School of Dentistry (ASOD) personnel. Generally, single-use items will be labeled with an icon that identifies it as a single-use item, as demonstrated below. If a device does not have reprocessing instructions, regardless of labeling, it must be considered single-use and disposed of appropriately. More information and specific instructions area available for review through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's “Single-Use (Disposable) Devices” webpage.

Within clinical areas, disposable items are available on mobile carts, storage boxes, and within dispensary areas. Specific location depends upon clinical area and ability to ensure appropriate aseptic storage practices. Disposable items that were not used in a procedure, packaging is undamaged, and packing is made entirely of non-porous material (i.e., plastic and no paper), may be disinfected using the wipe/discard/wipe methodology and returned for reuse. All disposable items that have porous packaging, were opened but unused, packaging damaged, or operator/provider is unsure if disposable item can safely be disinfected, must dispose of the item in a biohazard waste receptacle.

Single-Use Only Symbol

Regulated Waste Materials

Contaminated sharps and disposable items with blood or other potentially infectious materials​​​​​​​ are considered regulated medical waste. Rules related to handling and disposal of related waste have been developed by the North Carolina Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Branch. Within ASOD, non-sharps regulated waste materials are considered to include human tissue and blood products (including blood, serum, and plasma), which may be discarded through the means of incineration, sanitary sewers, and/or labeled biohazard bins. Sharps regulated waste materials include, but not limited to, needles, syringes with attached needles, burs, capillary tubes, slide and cover slips, scalpel blades, and the sharps includes in the Dental Tray. Sharps items may be incinerated or placed into the sanitary landfill after placement in a rigid puncture-proof container. More detailed information regarding North Carolina waste disposal is available on the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality website.

Policy and Handling of Needles

All ASOD personnel that handle needles will utilize proper handling and disposal methodologies, as outline below. Care must always be taken to avoid injuries by the use of proper capping, uncapping, and disposal of needles and sharps materials. Each time a new needle is obtained, a new sheath-guard/prop guard will also be secured.

Needle Recapping Procedure

Needles may be recapped for re-injecting the same patient. However, they are never to be recapped using two (2), unaided hands (i.e., without an assistive device). Adhering of the ‘One Handed Scoop Technique’ or a stability device/card must be utilized, which may be reviewed through this video on the one-handed technique, this video on the stability device/card technique, or by the diagrams below.

One Handed Scoop Technique

1st step in the single handed scoop technique




Place cap on a level horizontal surface and gently slide needle halfway into cap.

2nd step of single handed scoop technique3rd step of the single handed scoop technique

Slowly tip up needle end of the device and allow cap to slide over the needle.

4th step of the single handed scoop technique




Finally, use the thumb of the hand holding the device to secure the cap to the syringe.


Stability Device / Card

Capped needle with stability card





1. Assemble syringe with anesthetic and capped needle as usual.

Inserting syringe to stability card





2. Holding assembled syringe, insert cap through hols in Needle Sheath Prop, aligning ridges of needle cap with grooves around hole.

Closeup of capped needle inserted into sheath





3. Insert needle cap through hole up to collar of cap.

Example of gripping onto the needle and cap





4. Hold onto cap behind Pro Tector Prop and pull cap off.

Syringe removed with cap remaining in stabilizing card

5. Place Pro Tector Prop on tray with open end of cap facing up.

Inserting syringe back into cap, without hands near needle

6. Use one-handed technique to recap. Insert needle into cap, bring syringe vertical, and push down slightly.

Sharps Disposal Standard

Sharps containers are a hard plastic container that is used to safety dispose of needles and other sharp medical instruments. Sharps materials is a categorical name, which is applied to anything that can puncture or lacerate the skin. Contaminated sharps are discarded immediately or as soon as possible in containers that are closable, puncture-resistant, leak-proof on sides and bottom, and labeled appropriately; an example may be found below. Sharps containers must be located in or easily accessible by each operatory and be available for the discarding of all used needles, blades (removed with needle forceps), wire, cartridges, or other sharps materials that could puncture a garbage bag.

When a contaminated sharps container is three-quarters full or before the fill line is met, whichever comes first, the container is to be closed and sealed according to manufacturer instructions. Put on all PPE and carefully transport the sealed sharps container to the specified drop off area, outside the Central Sterilization Unit in the basement of Tarrson Hall. Exact location may be determined by contacting the Central Sterilization Unit. Generally, deposited materials are picked up on a monthly basis by a contracted medical waste facility.






(Sharps Container Example)




Important Contacts & Links

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Article ID: 139924
Sun 6/5/22 4:01 PM
Thu 8/17/23 3:11 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Adams School of Dentistry
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Director of Clinical Compliance
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
06/07/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
07/24/2023 2:24 PM
Last Revised
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07/24/2023 2:25 PM
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If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
06/07/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
05/18/2020 12:10 PM