Guide to Conducting Dental Equipment Preventative Maintenance

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Preventative maintenance of dental equipment is essential. Equipment needs to be adequately cared for, to maintain instruments operating at optimal efficiency for a long long time.

The worldwide dental equipment market was worth USD 5.4 billion in 2020, and it is anticipated to increase at a CAGR of 12.1% from 2021 to 2028. These dental equipment used to inspect, treat, manipulate, and cure any oral ailments.

Equipment maintenance is a vital skill for dental practitioners in addition to all of their clinical obligations, which range from patient satisfaction to procuring supplies to administrative duties. Dental equipment maintenance not only helps to avoid unexpected problems, but it can also help to extend the life of the equipment. On a daily level, we usually know what has to be done, but what about weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks?

Managing a dental practice and the required dental equipment routine maintenance can be overwhelming. Here, the goal is to simplify things by covering dental equipment preventative maintenance specific to sterilization, operation, medical gas, and IT tasks.

Following are the list of things you can do to maintain your dental practice equipment:

At the beginning of the day

  • Switch on the air compressor systems and vacuum, and the master water valve.

  • If necessary, switch on the oxygen tanks and  nitrous oxide.

  • If you still use a film-based processor, switch it on and resupply the fixer and developer.

  • Fill the ultrasonic with sufficient fresh water and solution.

  • Check the sterilizer(s) water levels and turn them on.

  • Fill and use a suitable waterline maintenance product when using self-contained water bottles.

  • Rinse handpieces and air/water syringes with water.

Throughout the day, lubricating and disinfecting handpieces is important; contra angles, lubricate prophy angles (if not disposable) , and nose cones between patients; sanitize operatory equipment after every patient; wash handpiece water lines between every single patients; as well as check the levels of water in self-contained water bottles.

At the end of the day

  • Clean the saliva ejector tubings and operator HVE with suction cleaner, and clean or replace the delivery unit traps if necessary.

  • If your delivery method has a self-contained water bottle system, flush handpiece tubing, ultrasonic scalers, air polishers, and air/water syringes with air to prevent biofilm formation.

  • Empty and clean the ultrasonic cleaner.

  • Turn off delivery systems, power scalers, X-rays, sterilisers, air polishers, vacuum, air compressor systems, and film processors (if applicable), and the master water switch.

Replace the traps on the delivery unit on a weekly basis, and inspect and change gaskets on handpieces and O-rings on handpiece couplers. HVE and saliva ejector valve O-rings should be checked and replaced while changing O-rings and gaskets  on handpieces. Make sure to take the valves apart and oil them. Clean the exterior and interior of the sterilizer(s), as well as the reservoir. If the practice has many sterilisers, check the filters and run a biological spore test on each one.

Technology to plan and update you ahead of time

A dental office including specialised dentistry clinics with strong inventory control needs can benefit from software. The inventory management software is best suited for surgical practices with high patient numbers. Maintenance of preference cards, automatic notifications indicating low product volume, and a completely tailored reporting platform for dentistry clinics are all key features. 

By arranging inventory based on reporting, dentists might anticipate saving money. They can save time by minimizing the time it takes to manually do inventory checks, and the information can be retrieved from anywhere utilising the cloud-based inventory system, which is ideal for clinics that collaborate.

The inventory management software in dentistry not only helps your practice become efficient and organised but it also improves patient satisfaction, while decreasing wait timings and making scheduling process easier.

TASKS DONE ON A WEEKLY BASIS

  • Empty the solids collectors in operatories

  • Detach the couplers from the tubings and handpieces and lubricate the threads.

  • Waterlines should be tested and treated if necessary.

  • Examine the electric motors and o-rings on couplings.

  • In the delivery system, change the gauze in the oil collector.

  • Operatory light shields should be cleaned and inspected on a regular basis.

  • To remove surface disinfectant residue, clean surfaces with a gentle soapy solution.

  • Run and install any available Windows updates.

  • Perform full virus scan to all the workstations.

  • Workstations should be shut down or restarted.

MONTHLY TASKS

  • Clean, disassemble, and lubricate suction components (Canister, HVE, SE). 

  • Check all units, lights, and monitor mounts for drifting.

  • Conduct a shock treatment to the water lines.

  • Examine medical gas rubber items for damage and make sure they're working properly.

TASKS FOR EACH YEAR

  • Ensure that the pivot point on stools and chairs is lubricated.

  • Check the pressures in the handpiece and the water bottle.

  • If necessary, change waterline filters.

  • Inspect the suction line tubings and handpiece and replace as needed.

  • Inspect and replace the air/water syringe o-rings as needed.

  • Calibrate x-rays in accordance with state regulations.

  • Calibrate nitrous oxide in accordance with state regulations.

Every office should get a “first aid” kit for their equipment. It should include products that are required for routine self-care. These includes air compressor oil and intake valves; handpiece lube and cleaner; vacuum intake filters, traps, line cleaner, and canisters; chucks, spare handpiece turbines, bur tools, and cleaners; curing lights, spare light bulbs for handpieces, and operatory lights; and gaskets and spare O-rings. Keep all manuals of equipment provided by owner’s in a safe location and reference them for manufacturer-recommended maintenance. Invoices for equipment should also be retained in case of warranty difficulties.

It's crucial to be aware of what's going on around you. Try to notice any equipment that behaves strangely, such as making loud or unusual noises or having an unusual appearance/discoloration. Contact your dealer's service technician if you see anything unusual. These highly trained professionals are qualified to install, troubleshoot, and repair your equipment. In many cases, they have received factory training from the manufacturer, so contact them if you have any problems that aren't related to the fundamental maintenance of your equipment.

The list presented below is not exhaustive, and offices are encouraged to develop their own maintenance schedules depending on their practice's equipment and state regulations. Prior to servicing any equipment beyond routine maintenance, you should always consult the manufacturer's guidelines. Establishing a routine maintenance schedule is one of the best strategies to ensure that equipment is in good working order. You can focus on providing excellent treatment to your patients when your equipment is regularly maintained and serviced.



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Dr. Chuck Le is the founder of 7 Day Dental and is a recognized leader in the field of dentistry. For several years, Dr. Le has dedicated his personal time and resources to working with organizations and causes that help the less fortunate, as well as youth development and well being, both internationally and here. His philanthropy has included his contribution to the disaster relief efforts after the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, and the restoration efforts after major conflagrations in Vietnam.