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How to Conduct Due Diligence When Choosing a Dental Supplier

 

In dentistry, patient safety is your number one priority. You aim to provide optimal outcomes to the people you treat — sound, flawless safety practices are integral to that objective. 

 

Your dental equipment must reflect your commitment to patient safety. Without high-quality, reliable products adhering to strict safety standards, you leave your patients at risk of varying harms. 

 

Conversely, investing in top-tier, compliant products enhances patient outcomes and satisfaction and ensures effective treatments. 

 

In this blog post, we will show you how to conduct due diligence when it comes to your dental supplier in Canada.

 

Avoid the Pitfalls of Substandard Products

 

Using products that are substandard or non-compliant increases your patients' risk of infection and treatment complications. These disastrous outcomes can lead to regulatory fines, legal issues, and reputational damage from which your practice might never recover. 

 

You’ll offset the likelihood of these adverse scenarios by doing business with dependable suppliers. Reputable dental equipment providers deliver quality, compliant products that give you peace of mind in knowing you can trust your tools and the materials they’re made of.

 

Trustworthy Suppliers Aren’t Always Easy to Come By

 

The complexity of the dental supply chains makes finding a reliable equipment supplier a challenging proposition. 

 

Global sourcing is a common practice throughout the dental product sector, subjecting such equipment to international standards, shipping logistics, and the inevitability of supply chain disruptions. 

 

Products involved in the dental supply chain are vast in scope, ranging from the most straightforward consumables to highly sophisticated equipment. Thus, robust supply chain management is absolutely crucial in managing such widespread product diversity. 

 

Given these complexities and despite your best intentions, you could accidentally end up dealing with a less-than-reliable supplier. 

 

Perform the due diligence tasks discussed below to ensure a thriving partnership with a dental supplier you can trust to be there for you with the products you need whenever they’re needed.

 

 

1. Regulatory Compliance: The Top Signpost Of Reliability

 

Being a reliable dental supplier is impossible if you aren’t compliant with regulations. This is the first trait any dentist must seek from a potential equipment provider while performing due diligence. 

 

Ensure the products adhere to FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and Health Canada standards. This notion extends to compliance with any law impacting medical equipment and supplies manufacturing and distribution. 

 

Regulatory Registration is a Prerequisite for Market Access

 

Selling dental products in Canada or the US is illegal without being legally registered. It’s a prerequisite for market access and, therefore, a matter of legal requirements for your practice (if you’re in these markets).   

 

While following best practices should suffice as motivation, you don’t want to subject your practice to damaging legal issues by not purchasing legally compliant products. 

 

Compliance Standards Ensure a Consistent Level of Quality You Can Trust

 

When dental product suppliers are certified and registered with the FDA and Health Canada, it ensures a level of quality you can always trust across multiple manufacturers.

 

It provides a baseline standard, offering immediate peace of mind when you have proof your products tick these compliance-based boxes. 

 

This piece of due diligence alone reduces the bulk of potential equipment-based concerns exponentially. 

 

FDA, Health Canada, and other such bodies have a robust infrastructure, providing reports on product recalls and adverse events. This bolsters patient safety by quickly identifying and addressing potential problems with products.

 

2. Accreditation and Certification 

 

Regulatory compliance acts as a tremendous baseline for your due diligence. Now, it’s time to take things a step further by examining whether your supplier is accredited by relevant industry bodies. 

 

Additionally, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certifications speak to adherence to quality management systems. 

 

When dental products and equipment achieve certification and accreditation, it signifies the manufacturer’s adherence to stringent quality standards.  

 

For example, the ISO 13485 certification — and others like it — applies strictly to medical devices and illustrates the manufacturer’s dedication to high-quality processes.  

 

The above certification demands suppliers maintain consistent top-tier design, development, production, and delivery standards. Thus, dental professionals can be more confident in any products with ISO 13485 certification to be reliable and effective. 

 

Rigorous testing and quality checks apply to all ISO-certified products, mitigating malfunction-based risks and offsetting the chances for patient harm. Invasive tools and equipment used in dental surgeries and procedures benefit most from such processes and standards. 

 

Risk management is a significant component of medical device ISO standards.  

Therefore, all certified dental equipment suppliers identify, assess, and offset the associated risks of their products. 

 

With these proactive approaches at play, risk management is optimized, yielding safer and more effective equipment.

 

3. Reputation

 

Don’t take a supplier’s word for it regarding their reputation. 

 

Yes, a reputable dental supplier won’t pull any punches and will be transparent. But they’ll be more than happy for you to do some digging to ensure you’re making the most informed equipment investment decision.

 

  • Learn about a potential supplier’s reputation by seeking references from other providers, exploring reviews, and contacting industry publications.  
  • Search various platforms for online ratings and reviews for prospective suppliers. Your best source will be websites and forums dedicated to dentistry. Dental associations and publications will also have supplier ratings and reviews based on many illuminating criteria. 
  • Make networking part of your due diligence. Your industry peers can be a valuable source of information in seeking trustworthy dental suppliers.  
  • Visit dental trade shows and conferences featuring these companies' products so you can interact with them firsthand. 
  • Trade shows will also provide telltale signs of attending suppliers’ reputations and industry standings.

 

4. Going Beyond the Sale 

 

Your relationship with a supplier shouldn’t end after purchasing from them. Despite the quality of a product or piece of equipment, problems can still arise.  

 

Thus, after-sales support is an important component in choosing your supplier as it pertains to the following factors: 

 

  • Warranties 
  • Return policies 
  • Maintenance services 
  • Equipment usage training.

 

Dental equipment — especially of a high quality — is sophisticated. Regularly scheduled maintenance is a must for optimal longevity and performance. Thus, reliable suppliers also provide the following services with their after-sales support: 

 

  • Repairs 
  • Servicing 
  • Routine maintenance

 

These services ensure your equipment won’t fail or disrupt your dental services. 

 

A staple of reliable after-sales support is prompt repair response times to limit downtime and ensure streamlined continuity for patient care.  

 

We’ve referenced peace of mind multiple times throughout this article, which will be most prominent when you can rely on your supplier for accessible support.  

 

You can focus on what you do — providing optimal care — because you can trust your equipment to be there when needed.

 

5. Product Recalls

 

Examine whether product recalls or legal issues have impacted a potential supplier and their products. 

 

Recalls can result from minor packaging issues and extend to significant problems that risk patient safety.  

 

Since patient safety is your primary concern, you want to avoid recalled products at all costs. They could lead to health and safety regulation violations, even landing your dental practice in legal trouble and facing punitive fines.  

 

Find recall information in Canada from the following sources:

 

  • Health Canada’s Recall and Safety Alerts Database offers you a well-rounded collection of recall and safety alert information, extending to dental products. Access this database through the official website
  • The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) can also provide resources or send notifications about recalled dental products to Canadian dental healthcare providers.

 

Here’s where to locate dental product recall information in the US: 

 

  • The FDA offers information on dental product recalls and is the primary source for doing so. Their website is frequently updated and offers detailed, vetted information. 
  • The American Dental Association (ADA) will often flag issues and notify dentists about product recalls throughout the US.

 

5. Training and Educational Resources  

 

A clear sign of a reliable supplier is if they provide robust educational resources and adequate training for optimal usage and maintenance of their equipment. 

 

User manuals and guides should provide detailed and concise instructions on operating and maintaining the equipment and troubleshooting related issues. Diagrams, step-by-step guides, and technical specifications are must-haves from complex equipment manuals. 

 

Reliable suppliers will also offer streamlined and permanent access to webinars, video tutorials, and e-learning modules. Such resources enable flexible learning and will always be there as needed as a frame of reference.  

 

Sophisticated equipment calls for hands-on training sessions, allowing you to familiarize yourself with such tools under the supervision and guidance of an expert instructor.

 

Reliable dental suppliers offer just that.

 

Invest in an Equipment-Based Partnership Your Practice and Patients Can Count On

 

Your skills as a dental healthcare provider can only truly flourish if you have the specialized equipment you can count on. These reliable products ensure patient safety — optimizing their outcomes — and bolster the reputation and profitability of your practice. 

 

Perform your due diligence with the tips suggested above, and you’ll find the exceptional and reliable dental supplier your practice can count on for decades to come.  

  

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