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Correct Disposal of Dental Anesthetic Capules


Dental carpules are small glass tubes that are specially designed for use in a dental syringe to deliver local anesthetic. They are single use only. Dental office workers are often unsure whether used anesthetic carpules are classified as pharmaceutical, hazardous or general waste. This depends on the carpule and what state the dental office is in.

While dental anesthetic carpules would not normally contain blood, any that do become contaminated must be regarded as regulated waste and need to be put in the sharps’ container for correct disposal. Carpules that are empty and unbroken are classified as regular trash. Some practices prefer to put these into a sharps’ bin because of the risk of breakage but this is not a requirement.

Carpules which still contain some anesthetic are treated differently. They need to be disposed of in a pharmaceutical waste container to be incinerated. This is because the autoclaves which are used for normal medical waste do not break down pharmaceutical waste properly.

Remember that it’s the dental office’s responsibility to decide how the waste carpules are sorted and managed. Those in charge must be aware of the federal, state and local regulations. Those for Minnesota are a little different to other states.