Thursday, 9 February 2012

Monday morning aspirator blues

You walk in to your surgery on Monday morning, sit down to your first patient, your assistant picks up the suction tip to aspirate and 'Nothing'.

So what's the problem ?

Your suction pump has possibly got Monday morning Blues.

The problem may have arisen on Friday. The suction was dutifully cleaned by your assistant and then left.

Monday morning is when we get most calls for aspirators not working, The cause is often a sticking suction pump. The dry section of most humid suction systems can get wet due to a number of problems. Namely

1. You are using a foaming aspirator cleaner, despite the reps acclaim that 'This is the best, cheapest, non foaming suction cleaner on the market'
Shake the bottle if it foams, give it to the rep in a cup of tea and if he starts getting speech bubbles you know he was talking out his rear.

2. The pump was overloaded with cleaning fluids, then put to rest for the weekend to rest and corrode. This is common and if the moisture remains in the pump for the weekend , the dry pump can begin to corrode. When you come in on Monday morning the turbine blade has been siezed by the corroding aluminium casing.

3 The capacitor on one or both pumps has dropped below its prescribed value- This is really common, so much so we do not got to look at a suction pump without the capacitors being checked. Your pump my have two or more sets of windings. One supplied directly from the mains and the second via a capacitor. If the capacitor is not putting it out, then the pump may not have enough torque to start particularly if there is corrosion, as mentioned above.

So what to do. If the pump is seized, you will need an engineer even if you manage to free it up, it is likely to stick next Monday!.
You may be able to free it off temporarily, but get your engineer to check the capacitors. If your engineer does not carry a capacitance meter, get another engineer.

The main thing is to ensure the dry section of the pump has had time to dry, after the solution has been flushed through last thing at night.
Run the pump while the filter cap is off, with the filter still in place. This way plenty of air enters the system to dry off the pump, before it has to sit all night or all weekend. Run it fir at least three minutes.

Check your suction cleaner is recommended by the manufacturer. There are perhaps only three on the market I would recommend and they are all made by manufacturers of suction systems. If it foams do not use it. Do not put alcohol down the suction or the spittoon. One case I came across was where a dentist used salt. The pump lasted one day, yes it had to be replaced on Monday after being fitted on Friday.

I was on a large chemical manufacturers stand at an dental exhibition once. I explained how I loved their suction cleaner. "Oh you use our cleaner" the employee said with glee, hoping she had found a fan of their product. " Oh no I wouldn't use it" I replied. The lady on the stand looks puzzled " I am sorry I do not understand, you like our aspirator cleaner, but do not use it!". " yes that right, I recon, I sell about 25% of the suction pumps we sell through a year because of your suction cleaner, because it foams!". " Our suction cleaner doesn't foam sir, I assure you".
I promptly picked a bottle off the stand and shook it twice. You could not feel any solution in the bottle it had all turned to foam. I handed it to the lady and said "Sorry but it does". She had to concede when she opened the top of the bottle. The suction cleaner may well have worked well on wet line systems where it is not so important., but it sure was not designed to work with dry or humid suctions which are so common in the UK.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Factors to consider when buying Dental Equipment

Some of things to consider when you buy that new piece of  equipment for your surgery may appear to be obvious, but  here are few thoughts before you sign on the dotted line

Comfort -Who's more important you or your patient ?
Your comfort and ease of use of the equipment go with out saying. What about your patients comfort?.
One suggestion is that, when you are in the showroom discussing colour, price and other options on your new chair or package. Rather than standing, use that time to recline in the chair while you talk to the sales person. If after ten minutes or so, you are beginning to feel uncomfortable, perhaps its time to look at another chair. As specially if you do implants or long procedures, where your patient is sat for long periods of time!. 

Haggling for that big discount can be costly
Discounting at the big exhibitions is always hotly  contested and quite often where the majority of the sales can take place. But consider this one factor, before grabbing that big discount.
If the equipment breaks down, how long will it take for an engineer to come out ?. However tempting it is, to go for that big discount, calculate how long  it will take for that discount to be eaten up, by time spent cancelling a patient list and waiting for an engineer?. Ask whether you can speak to an engineer over the phone ?. As a good engineer will ask lots of questions before setting off to you and may be able to help you solve the problem there and then. There is nothing worse than opening an invoice, for work to clean a filter or switch something off and back on again. Ask for a reference from someone who has  bought equipment off the company before. If they say it took them two weeks to send an engineer out or they had to deal with a call centre, you do not have to do the maths to see the shine fading on that big discount.

Size isn't everything, but flexibility might be !
The size of your surgery will dictate how much room you have for cabinetry. But do not be tempted just to go for lots of cabinets. Even if you have the surgery area and your bank account can afford it. In my experience lots of cabinets generally means more places to stash rubbish or bits and pieces you never need ( Trust me I have seen in lots of cabinets). Plus you may end up stretching or twisting for things unnecessarily. Consider a mobile cabinet with its own work surface that slides under the main work surface and blends in with the other cabinets in the run. This gives you or your DSA another work surface to work from which you do not have to twist or stretch to reach. Plus if you are in a multiple surgery practice and have to move surgeries temporarily, the cabinet may be able to be wheeled in to the other surgery with you. ( If it's a one level practice). Plus the garage space left when it is out being used, gives you leg room for a desk area in your main cabinet run, particularly useful where space is at a premium.