Bur Processing – Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use, processing, etc. This is the first step in bur processing. In most cases, you will need to access the manufacturer’s website for the information. Keep in mind, single-use burs are saturating the market, make absolutely sure the burs you are using are reusable or single-use.
Disposable Burs – Usually, come packaged singly on a roll. Burs must be kept packaged until use and must not be removed from the package and placed in a bur block.
Reusable Burs – When new, the bur can be placed in a bur block as a block setup. However, burs cannot be stored unprotected; therefore, the block must have a lid or be placed in a container with a lid. Open side blocks the same rule applies. Another option is putting the new burs loosely in a compartment container that has a cover.
Once a bur is used, standard sterilization protocols apply, meaning must be cleaned, packaged, sterilized, and kept packaged until use. Always remove burs from the block before cleaning and sterilizing. Burs that cannot be cleaned (free of matter) must be disposed of in the Sharps container. After sterilization is completed, do not remove burs from the packaging and indicate on the packing the number of sterilization cycles that remains.
There are limits as to the number of times a bur can be sterilized (life cycle). Therefore a cycle management protocol must be established along with a log keeping method.
Sterilizing and using a bur beyond its life will hamper it’s performance and can promote risk to the patient. A bur is like a knife, it doesn’t become sharper with use!
Lab Burs – Keeping with standard sterilization protocols must be cleaned after use, packaged, sterilized, and kept packaged until used again.
FYI – Dental files and drills follow the same precautions as burs. Always read the manufacture’s instructions before using.