Tips for Selecting the Best Portable Dental Unit for In-Office Use

At first it may seem daunting to try and choose between the various brands of self-contained dental units available. Prices can vary widely with some seemingly too good to be true to even higher priced units not always being clear on what and how well they work. The purpose of this article is to simplify the purchase decision and explain some of the mechanical features and what to look for when comparing different models of portable dental units for your office.

Look for these specific features when evaluating a portable dental unit for purchase to ensure that vibration will be minimized:

Vibration – We will start our discussion with one of the most overlooked but important characteristics of evaluating a portable dental delivery unit. An ideal system will have a powerful compressor and vacuum system, meaning the motors could generate significant vibration. Vibration leaving a chassis can cause sound but also can make the work surface unusable if instruments and trays vibrate excessively and cause more sound. A well-designed unit will ensure that the vibration is minimal and allows for dental procedures to be performed without the interruption of tools vibrating off and that storage of trays and instruments can be utilized on top of the system.

High Grade Compressor and Vacuum Pumps – Higher quality pumps are made with greater precision and the dynamic balancing of the motors and piston will make them run smoother. This smoother operation is the key to beginning with proper construction to eliminate vibration at its source.

Engineered Isolation Mounts – The best way to mount pumps requires not only stable and secure connection to keep the pumps from moving around but also need to eliminate transfer of vibration from the pumps to the chassis. Rubber mounts do a fine job of securing the pump but don’t do very well at absorbing vibration. Improved dynamic mounting is higher quality and eliminates a high percentage of vibration.

Solid and Robust Construction Materials – Units that have poor construction or use flimsy materials will not handle vibration well and will cause problems. A well-built portable dental unit will be not only constructed of high-grade components, but will have thicker walls and materials. To keep these units lighter yet stronger they should use aluminum or an equivalent type of construction. Be cautious of units that are too small or lightweight to properly absorb vibration.

Suction Performance – One of the most difficult design areas for a portable dental unit to create, is the powerful suction desired for dental procedures. It needs to provide high flow with moderate strength to pick up debris, capture water coolant effectively and pull viscous solutions through smaller tubings like the saliva ejector or surgical tips. To effectively work for restorative procedures the system should be able to not only power the high-volume suction, but also be able to extract liquid through the saliva ejector simultaneously. When doing comparisons make sure to evaluate the suction strength of both the high volume and saliva ejector handpieces when used together. Doing so will let you know that you have a well-designed portable dental suction system.

Suction Canister and Purging Ability – The suction canister should be sized to allow for a standard day of procedures with normal rinsing during treatment. Generally, a good baseline is that the canister should hold around two to three liters of liquid. The canister should prevent overflowing by shutting off the vacuum when full and should have an indicator light to let staff know the system needs to be emptied.

Another area when consider portable dental equipment for in office use is a hands-free solution to emptying the contents of the suction canister through a pump and discharge hose system. This eliminates the need to have to manually dump and clean the canister. A purge system can be used to discharge directly into a sink basin or a convenient quick disconnect connected to the plumbing drain system. Once empty, the system can be easily rinsed by evacuating clean water and then cleaned overnight by suctioning in enzymatic cleaner that breaks down the proteins in blood and saliva.

Sound Performance – A very common and important question when selecting a portable dental unit for an office is how loud is it? The reason is that many in the dental field have heard how loud inexpensive and poorly designed dental units with air compressors can be. A well-engineered portable dental system should be very quiet and operate under 48 decibels measured right next to the system. However, sound can be elusive and decibels doesn’t always truly represent sound and secondarily there is no standardized testing certification that can be used to truly compare brands to the sound levels they list. So, the best way to find out if the system you are looking at would be to hear it in person. If that is not practical then either listen to a video of the system operating or from a recommendation from someone you trust that has actually heard the systems. Sound quality varies greatly between suppliers of these systems so it is important to dive into this one area in more detail.

Compressed Air and Handpiece Performance – When evaluating a portable dental unit with compressor, make sure that the internal air compressor provided can produce enough air flow at the right pressure to operate air driven dental turbine handpieces properly. Even electrical dental high speeds use air for cooling and need proper air flow.

Don’t be tricked into using horsepower to try and compare models. Unfortunately, horsepower ratings have a wide range of latitude and marketing companies have used the HP rating to trick many consumers into believing one model is more powerful than another. This is often seen in electric hand tools sold in the big box stores. The best way is to find out if the system you are evaluating can adequately run common brands of dental turbine handpieces for an extended period without pressure dropping.

Aesthetics and Working Easily with the System – Since the system you will be using is in an office it is very important that it looks like a professional piece of dental equipment that delivers high quality care. Even though it is a portable dental unit, it shouldn’t look like it. Look for systems that have enclosures made of not only quality materials but are finished in a way that look modern with rounded corners and edges. Work surfaces should provide adequate working area and provide an easy to clean and attractive surface. As a portable rolling dental cart, it should roll easily with high grade casters. Other considerations include ensuring that the dental unit has non-clinging and non-stiff dental tubings, and that handpieces holders should be modern, rounded and easy to clean.

Electrical Requirements and Testing Lab Approval – A well-designed self-contained dental unit should be able to operate from a standard electrical outlet without overloading the circuit even with both pumps running at the same time.

Ensure that the model you select has a UL certification by an approved testing lab. This will give you peace of mind knowing that all the electrical components, wiring, switches are high quality and have been assembled correctly.

Dental Water Supply and Water Line Disinfection – Current requirements are mandating that the water lines in dental delivery units be disinfected to remove the biofilm that can grow inside the small diameter tubings. Tablets and other chemicals can clog or damage portable dental unit components and require consistent management to ensure that the removal of biofilm is obtained. An ideal portable dental unit should have a water line disinfection cartridge that can be part of the bottle system so that no daily maintenance is required. Since these cartridges can be expensive, select a system with tandem water supply that gives ample water supply for a full day’s procedures but only requires one cartridge to filter both bottles.

Amalgam Separation – If you will be using the portable dental unit for restorative procedures such as removing old amalgam fillings, the suction system will need the ability to use an amalgam separator. This can require the use of an amalgam separator that the unit can be purged through to collect the heavy metals. To meet state and EPA regulations, the amalgam separator must have been tested and approved by a certifying agency. Verify that the portable model you use provide a certified separator option.

Nitrous Oxide scavenging – In office use of a self-contained dental unit often will require the ability to use the portable dental suction to connect to the nitrous patient mask to scavenge off the excess gas. Check to ensure that the portable dental system has the optional capability to be used for nitrous exhaust scavenging.

Please visit ASIDental.Com/Portable-Work  for additional information on ASI Dental’s line of advanced mobile dental delivery system technology.

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How to Plan Your Equipment Build-Out and the Growth Phase of Your Practice

The first step is to plan well and to only purchase the equipment and supplies you can put into production right away. This may mean avoiding supply stocking programs and fully equipped offices unless you really believe they will be used from the start.

Planning out your office and expenditures is more than just getting the right look. Use discernment when reviewing preformatted budget templates, and consider the importance of each area to generating initial practice revenue. Before you purchase equipment, ask yourself if it’s really necessary for you to open your practice. This will help you get down to a much more realistic overall budget that isn’t filled with excess equipment, supplies or post construction décor.

How to select equipment types that easily adapt and can be dropped in as growth requires

Think like a large manufacturer that is planning to grow. These companies need to be able to easily ramp up their production lines in the future, but don’t want to over spend until their sales numbers justify the expansion. So while they would consider finding a large enough facility that allowed for planned growth, pre-wiring it and completing some of the interior finish, they would not buy additional production line equipment until it was required.

The trick is to ensure construction is completed and readily allows for equipment to be moved in, set up and easily connected. There are now handy in-wall and floor junction boxes that facilitate running electrical wiring, IT cabling and plumbing. These built-in boxes come neatly enclosed and don’t detract from an empty treatment room’s appearance, yet they make it very easy to connect equipment as needed.

To maximize your office space cost, it is important to get the most from your space. Building leases are based on a price per square foot, which is the horizontal dimension. Keep in mind you pay nothing more for the vertical space. Large dental cabinets require a big horizontal footprint without adding to treatment capability. Modern dental equipment is more compact and can integrate instruments, computer systems and monitors into one console, reducing the footprint and taking advantage of the vertical space. You can design smaller treatment rooms yet achieve an open and spacious feeling for you and your patients.

Modern modular dental equipment is much easier to set into place and connect without a lot of installation difficulty. This equipment easily adapts to expansion and even different operators’ requirements, including ambidextrous or multi-specialty needs.

No matter what equipment you invest in as you start your practice, don’t feel like you have to buy it all at once. Take a phased approach instead.

 

Modular Dental Office

Dr. Massad discusses his Modular Dental Office with ASI’s Cabinet-Free operatory design.

Dual Ultrasonics – Dr. Thomas McClammy

The purpose of this article is to emphasize that ultrasonics that are readily available and ergonomically delivered can be a valuable adjunct to endodontic procedures for the well trained and astute endodontic clinician specialists and generalists alike.

ASI for Your Dental Equipment Needs

Six Significant Reasons to Select ASI for Your Dental Equipment Needs.

There are many choices of dental equipment manufacturers. However, ASI Medical, Inc. provides many unique capabilities and features that separate our dental equipment line from the others. Listed below are six significant reasons to evaluate when selecting dental delivery units and systems for your office.

 

1. Improve Treatment Times – ASI’s Unique Advanced Dental Systems® are a unique type of dental delivery system that can improve efficiency and reduce treatment time. Having the right dental instrument readily available can eliminate wasted time reaching for instruments by the dental team throughout the entire day. Just as process improvements help manufactures reduce production time, having properly placed instrumentation can improve dental treatment times.
2. Custom Configurable with Everything in One Dental System – ASI’s Advanced Dental Systems utilize a unique modular instrument panel that operates from only one foot control, allowing each dental system to be custom configured. Select your desired instrumentation, determine which control panel each of the instruments will be integrated and on which location on the holder bar in the order the dental practice wants. This allows the dental delivery system to specifically meet the practice recruitment needs through the ability to perform procedures from endodontics to periodontics with only one dental unit.
3. Ambidextrous and Ergonomic – ASI’s dental operatory equipment can be fully ambidextrous allowing for ease of positioning within a well-designed operatory space. Dental cart designs allow for infinite positioning without movement constraints or reach limits of arm based dental units. Having easily accessible instruments positioned correctly for the staff improves not only their efficiency but enjoyment of their daily work.
4. Robust Designs for Lasting Quality – For over twenty years, ASI been making high quality dental equipment constructed of thick walled aluminum, stainless steel control valves and titanium instruments. Our dental equipment stands the rigors of daily institutional use. Durability is partly why ASI mobile dental systems were selected as the deployable dental system for all branches of the military. It is also why our specialized Advanced Dental and Endodontic Systems are used in over 60% of dental teaching schools.
5. Made in America and Selling Direct to our Customers – ASI manufactures a complete line of dental delivery systems in the U.S. Advanced manufacturing techniques are utilized in our machining centers and chassis fabrication. We sell our products to dentists and institutional buyers to save on distribution mark ups. This allows us to tailor configured dental unit models in the price points needed by our customers.
6. Comprehensive Tech Support – ASI provides support to your staff and for the products in a comprehensive fashion. This includes videos on use and maintenance that can be readily accessed by new dental staff at any time for their orientation and training. Over the past twenty years, we have developed a network of independent dental service technicians to facilitate on site installation and repairs of our dental equipment. Additionally, our tech support staff is a phone call away if your own service or dental team has questions for use or troubleshooting of your dental equipment.

Self-Contained Question – To Plumb or Not To Plumb

Is a Self-Contained All-In-One Mobile Dental Delivery Unit Right for You?

Changes and uncertainty in our current economic climate are reasons why more clinicians are interested in ASI’s Self-Contained Dental Delivery Systems. Have you thought about self-contained all-in-one cart as a possible option for your practice versus doing traditional dental plumbing to a utility room? The following information will help you determine if a self-contained unit is right for you.

 

Advantages of ASI’s Self-Contained Dental Cart Systems:

  • Ease of relocation
    ASI’s portable self-contained dental cart can be easily moved to a different location. An all in one dental unit is the perfect way to test your location with minimal construction or financial obligation.
  • Reduced startup cost
    ASI’s self-contained dental unit eliminates the expense associated with plumbing a building. All that is required to be fully operational is a standard electrical outlet.
  • Immediate startup 
    ASI’s mobile dental delivery carts allows you to open without waiting for additional permits and building inspections. If you are setting up a satellite office or working out of a specialty office on the side, ASI’s integrated portable dental delivery units gives you the flexibility to practice anywhere without the hassle of assembling and disassembling your instruments for transport.
  • Painless lease negotiation 
    Mobile self-contained dental systems may allow you to negotiate more favorable lease terms. This is because there is no need to compromise the building structure for plumbing renovations.
  • Connect to central plumbing 
    The internal air compressor and vacuum in a self-contained ASI cart can be bypassed and allow the unit to be connected to central plumbing at any time. This makes it a very versatile system able to adapt to changing needs.

 

Considerations of ASI’s Self-Contained Dental Cart Systems:

  • Required maintenance
    ASI’s Self-Contained systems include an internal air compressor, vacuum, purge and closed water systems. They require periodic maintenance to provide optimum performance. 
  • Suction purge and cleaner
    Knowing how to maintain your equipment is essential.  ASI self-contained systems are designed to minimize maintenance. However, there is still a need to purge the contents of the suction system at the end of the day. Evacuation system cleanser needs to be suctioned into the system to sit overnight. The entire procedure takes less than ten minutes and is a necessary and important process.
  • Sound
    ASI’s self-contained systems are remarkably quiet. The air compressor and vacuum system do make some sound while operating and make a humming while operating.  If you require your treatment rooms to be absolutely quiet, then a self-contained system may not be for you. However many of our customers find them remarkably quiet and the low resonating tone adds some white noise to the treatment room.
  • Understanding of mechanics
    These systems are designed to be easy to operate and generally do not require action from you. A basic understanding of how they operate goes a long way in maximizing their use.   

Please visit ASIDental.com/products/portable for more information on ASI’s line of mobile dental delivery systems.