You’re not alone. Many dentists have gotten creative in the ways they’re saving money these days. But when it comes to certain dental supplies, you don’t want to cut corners too closely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that you “use single-use devices for one patient only and dispose of them appropriately.”
Single-use dental supplies should never be reprocessed for a host of reasons. Aside from the fact that such items are not designed to be cleaned, disinfected or sterilized, they are usually made from plastic or less expensive metals and most likely not heat-tolerant. Exposing them to steam or heat sterilizers can dangerously alter their effectiveness.
SmartPractice carries a wide variety of disposable dental supplies. Listed with beneficial features, they are:
- Face Masks – The CDC strongly recommends that you change your face mask between each and every patient. Remove the face mask after treatment and immediately throw it away. Placing it in your pocket, around your neck or on a counter results in cross-contamination. Should the face mask become wet during patient treatment, it should be changed then as well, as its effectiveness is compromised.
- Prophylaxis Angles – With disposable prophy angles you get additional sanitary and convenience benefits along with the same quality performance as metal prophy angles. No need for autoclaving after every use. Simply throw them away after one use and eliminate all risk of cross-contamination.
- Sterilization Pouches – With single-use sterilization pouches, you never have to worry about counting cycles or over-cycling. Also, reusing single-use sterilization pouches can result in loss of chemical indicator ability, insecure sealing of the package and an inability of the material to maintain sterility of the contents after processing.
- Exam Gloves – This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s one of the most important practices. Switch out your exam gloves between every patient. Never wash or disinfect gloves for reuse. As in the case of face masks, the wicking effect can also occur with gloves when washing with surfactants, and disinfecting can cause deterioration.
- Single-use Diamond Burs – Because of the physical construction of devices such as burs, difficulty in cleaning can occur. Deterioration on the cutting surfaces can also occur after repeated processing cycles, which can lead to breakage during patient treatment. Single-use burs eliminate the risk of debris that may have been missed in scrubbing, therefore resulting in cross-infection.
Saving a buck here and there simply doesn’t pay off in the long-run. With the numerous, high-quality disposable items, devices and dental supplies available to you at savings of 5-15%, there really is no reason to take risks with the safety of your patients and staff.
What are some of the ways you’ve been able to save money in your practice? We’d love to hear your tips!