Universal precautions protect you, your team, and your patients. Hand-in-hand with that comes the need to protect the equipment necessary for you to perform your job effectively.
The stark truth is this; should the air supply not be of the highest possible standard, there is real potential for the equipment, to which the air travels, to become damaged and even break down. Think about it, compressed air-powered equipment is the lifeblood of the practice and without it the knock-on effects include cancellation of appointments, patients left without care or treatment, staff members without work and therefore, crucially, your practice without revenue until the fault can be rectified, or a replacement machine installed.
So, it is clear that getting the fundamentals right, before anything has the chance to go wrong, is the only reasonable way forward; prevention is often better than cure after all.
Guidance on how to do this is provided for the UK (except for Scotland) in ‘HTM 2022 – Supplement 1: Dental compressed air and vacuum systems’.
It states: ‘Dental air is usually supplied via a compressor, which should be fitted with an air-intake filter and a post compression filtration and dryer system. This ensures that the air is clean and dry, minimising the risk of contamination of the system by micro-organisms and improving the efficiency of dental instruments.’
So far, so clear. Then we get to the issue of dew point, which, in essence, is the point at which water is removed from the air. This is where it gets really interesting for dental practices, because supplement one of HTM 2022 requires compressed air to have a dew point of no less than -20°C.
However, it is imperative to understand that this is not the point at which there will be no moisture whatsoever and therefore some risk remains. For example, moisture presence can result in carbon and / or oil travelling through the pipelines, ultimately damaging bearings in the handpiece, and even ending up in patients’ mouths.
The medical requirement for dew point is no less than -46°C, meaning the air is bone dry and eliminating all the risks mentioned here. That is what we in the dental industry should be working towards, and clean, bacteria free, medical grade air is available now.
Never forget that the financial health of your practice depends upon a reliable supply of high-quality (preferably medical grade) air, alongside a maintenance service schedule from a reputable company or engineer who is ISO 9001 certified.
With that in mind, one of the company’s most exciting services is Air to the Chair, which guarantees the following, all for just £5 per chair per week – click here for more information.