The dental delivery system holds a unique place in the dental office. It is one of the few pieces of equipment most visible to patients, while also being very consequential for clinicians in terms of ergonomics and musculoskeletal health. As Dr. Bethany Valachi states in Dental Products Report, “Delivery systems impact the operator’s body mechanics and can result in movement dysfunction and shoulder joint or lower-back problems.” With a dizzying array of options available to address both patient experience and ergonomics, choosing a dental delivery unit can become complicated.
In this article (Part 2 of 2), we discuss guidelines for choosing dental delivery unit(s) and offer an overview of routine maintenance and repair of your systems. See our first article (Part 1), where we cover what dental delivery systems are and how they work, as well as outline the different types of systems available, with a focus on ergonomics.
Choosing Dental Delivery Unit(s) for Your Practice
Once you understand how dental delivery systems work and what options are available, how should you go about choosing the right model(s) for your practice? There are many factors to consider for this important purchase, including:
- your patient demographics (pediatric, geriatric, Medicare/Medicaid, mental health challenges)
- whether there are specialists in your group who require more equipment and supplies
- whether you practice four-handed or two-handed dentistry
- the workflow of everyone who works in your treatment rooms, including the configuration of those rooms
- the number of units your practice will need (generally one per operatory)
- the locations and sizes of your treatment rooms
- existing cabinets and equipment in your treatment rooms
- the utility infrastructure of your clinic
- your budget
You’ll need to do the work of defining most or all these parameters before making decisions about what dental delivery units will work best. You can do it on your own, with your team, with a dental office design consultant, with your dental equipment representative, or some combination of these. You can also schedule a call with our customer support team for information about DENTALEZ dental equipment.
Whatever approach you take, for the long-term health of you and your colleagues, identifying and correcting ergonomic problems is a critical component of the decision-making process. Reliability and reputation of the equipment are also important. Cost will almost certainly affect your options, but outside consultants and vendors can help you identify solutions that fit your budget.
When selecting a dental delivery system, a dentist might tend to gravitate toward what they became accustomed to in dental school, but there are many circumstances that may have changed or evolved. Be sure to look at these aspects of your current practice and think about whether they match your goals and aspirations:
- Ergonomics: An evaluation of your processes and procedures can make all the difference to understanding if you are missing key ergonomic issues. Many practitioners deal with constant pain, but don’t realize that having the right equipment can help mitigate that. Having knowledge of the five classes of motion according to basic ergonomic principles can help you evaluate your current set up.
- Ancillaries: Have you researched what new innovations in equipment and accessories are available since you last purchased a dental delivery unit? DENTALEZ has introduced several:
- Our Star handpieces feature ergonomic advances such as lightweight materials and a 360-degree swivel quick disconnect to make your dental delivery system even easier to use
- We debuted a new premium aluminum LED operatory light with an easy access touchpad and 8 LEDs for shadow-free illumination.
- Our hands-free HVE holder allows the user to position the HVE with ease and precision, with or without supplemental staff.
- Aesthetics: Are you considering the impression your equipment will make on your patients? What about the kind of environment you and your staff like to work in? DENTALEZ takes great pride in its designer-friendly Forest dental equipment with high-quality metal components and “big brand features for less.”
How do you ensure you are making the best purchase?
Simply put, it’s a good idea talk to your dental equipment supplier. The value a consultant brings to the buying process is help you evaluate your current situation and to explore all the options with you, avoiding pre-determined assumptions about cost vs. efficiency and what is best for your practice. They can help you think “outside the box” and introduce you to equipment that can change your practice for the better.
Maintenance of Dental Delivery Units
Routine maintenance of dental delivery systems (performed daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually and annually) is critical for both patient safety and equipment longevity. You should create your own comprehensive preventative maintenance checklist for your practice using information from, at least, these sources:
- the instruction manual from your dental unit’s manufacturer
- one or more of the many dental equipment maintenance checklists available online
- consultations with your staff to review and modify, if needed
Establishing a foolproof regimen for infection control in the water source (municipal or bottle) is paramount. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides these guidelines for dental practitioners and dental equipment manufacturers.
Maintenance tasks for your delivery system may include:
- regularly adjusting handpiece air pressures
- flushing the water lines with a treatment solution
- cleaning the vacuum traps
- disinfecting surfaces
Repair of Dental Delivery Units
Dental delivery systems are designed to last about 15-20 years in a private practice, or 10-12 years in a higher-volume setting. Around the 5-year mark, major repair issues may start to appear, for which you’d need to contact your dealer technician or equipment supplier.
These might include:
- a lack of power to one or more of the instruments or the whole unit
- water leaks from tubing or inside the unit
- water isn’t reaching one or more of the lines
- water won’t shut off in one or more of the lines
- fiber optics not working
With a 5-year warranty, DENTALEZ delivery systems offer peace of mind that you won’t have to worry about frequent repairs. However, our Customer Experience repair team is available, should you need them.
Contact DENTALEZ For Your Next Dental Delivery System
A dental delivery system is a workstation that consolidates the water, air, electricity and vacuum power needed to run dental handpieces and other instruments, giving practitioners ready access to the tools they need to care for patients. There are multiple locations where dental delivery units can be installed to create the most efficient and ergonomically advantageous working environment: chair mounted, rear cabinet mounted, side cabinet mounted and semi-mobile carts.
Choosing dental delivery units for your practice involves a thorough evaluation of your current environment considered against the needs and wants of you and your staff, as well as your budget. Dental office design consultants, equipment suppliers and equipment manufacturers can all assist you with the process. We at DENTALEZ invite you to contact us if you have any questions. We’d love to help you find the perfect solution for your needs.