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Power Up Your Dental Practice: How Proper Suction Line Maintenance Can Improve Efficiency and Safety


In a dental practice, every detail counts. 


Customer service is key. Technical skills are paramount. Administrative proficiency is pivotal. 


Your practice's leadership team must cover all angles, and you should always be looking for ways to streamline and "power up" your business practices. You leave no stone unturned in finding ways to improve. 


As an essential part of your clinic's operatory, dental suction lines and evacuation systems can contribute greatly to increasing your practice's safety and efficiency. For that reason, here are a few tips on how to properly maintain dental suction lines.


Refresher: What Are Dental Suction Lines?


Your dental evacuation system (or dental suction system) removes blood, saliva, irrigation water, and other such fluids from your patients' mouths during procedures.


These systems also remove dental calculus, dental amalgam, tooth particles, and other debris while treating a patient. 


The related pieces of equipment are something of an unsung hero of the operatory. In many ways, your practice's success depends on their functionality.  


When you started your career, you likely didn’t fantasize about optimizing your dental suction system. Yet, you spend a significant chunk of your workday relying on this specific piece of equipment.


In fact, your dental evacuation system is as prevalent in your practice as your mouth mirror, dental probe, or scaler.


Since your dental suction system is so crucial, it requires rigorous care. It deserves your undivided attention to ensure optimal performance.


Why Does Dental Suction System Maintenance Matter?


Your dental suction system often goes overlooked as an unsung hero. Yet, it’s a foundational element of your practice.


Society's reliance on the internet is a fitting comparison. We’re so used to having the internet at our fingertips. Then, everything falls into chaos and disrepair once there’s a connection problem.


Now that we mention it, your practice needs properly functioning suction systems more than the internet. You can’t treat your patients without your suction and evacuation systems. If this crucial equipment goes kaput, you’d have to shut down your practice for hours (if not days).


Thus, maintenance is a must.


Poorly maintained suction lines go beyond hampering your bottom line (although it will hurt you financially). Your dental evacuation system is a vital infection control component. Biofilms are catalysts for pathogens and can carry infectious material, and properly functioning evacuation systems neutralize these risks.


You and your team can follow maintenance and disinfection steps to ensure this foundational equipment doesn’t malfunction. Doing so will save you thousands in replacements, professional cleaning, and canceled appointments.


Delving Further Into Infection Control


The potential for cross-contamination between patients skyrockets when a dental suction system isn’t maintained.


Backflow is a primary contributor to these risks.


On the above note, failing to use saliva ejectors properly leads to backflow.


Previously suctioned fluids will remain in the tubing and enter a patient’s mouth when:

  • The patient shuts their lips around the saliva ejector. 
  • When the suction tubing connected to the saliva ejector is above the patient’s mouth. 
  • If the saliva ejector is used while other evacuation equipment is running.

Typically, the most common usage of saliva ejectors occurs in hygiene treatment rooms.


Hygienists often tell patients to close their lips tightly around the saliva ejector tip for efficient fluid removal.


It should be noted that the CDC acknowledged no adverse health effects resulting from saliva ejectors have been reported. Nonetheless, backflow remains a risk.


One potential solution is investing in a saliva ejector tip with a built-in backflow prevention mechanism.


Dental Suction System Maintenance Is A Breeze


There’s a lot to be romantic about as a dentist, dental assistant, or dental hygienist. You can change patients' lives by improving their oral health. Making that kind of difference can get you out of bed on even the darkest day. 


However, giving your patients the best care requires that you manage the less-than-romantic aspects of running a practice. 


On that note, maintaining your dental evacuation system isn’t exactly adventurous or engaging. It’s a straightforward, nitty-gritty task that needs doing.  


That said, dental evacuation system maintenance is easy. A plethora of products and systems are available to clean your suction lines efficiently and safely.  


Note that you’ll require a specific dental evacuation system cleaner. A generalized cleaner won’t cut it. For instance, chlorine-based cleaners and bleach shouldn’t be used to flush wastewater lines since they increase the oxidation and dissolution of mercury in the water system.  


You must use compatible cleaners and follow the instructions on the packaging to achieve optimal results.


How Often Should Your Dental Evacuation System Lines Be Flushed?


Your dental suction system should generally be flushed daily, but with a high quality microbial cleaner like Bio-Pure, you can do it twice a week. Most practices find it most convenient to perform this task at the end of the workday.


Use warm water to flush low-volume suction lines between each appointment. Clean and replace suction traps, too. Dental chair unit manufacturers recommend cleaning traps once every week. Don't hesitate to ask these manufacturers about more granular maintenance details. Their answers will help maximize results. 


How Long Does It Take To Perform Dental Suction System Maintenance Tasks?


Dental evacuation system maintenance might not be the most glamorous part of your job. But it’s not time-consuming and can seamlessly fit into the rest of your busy day.  


Each suction system chair unit requires only a few minutes of maintenance weekly. 


Of course, small–albeit crucial–details can fall by the wayside during hectic times. So–it’s vital to make dental suction system maintenance a high-priority task. Highlight it on your calendar with the loudest, most bombastic yellow marker you can find.  


Otherwise, you leave your practice open to ethical and financial risk. All it takes is minimal maintenance work to keep your practice’s reputation intact as an excellent care provider.


What Kind Of Products Should You Use For Your Dental Evacuation Systems?


Bio-Pure offers dental practices a microbial and enzymatic dental Evacuation System Cleaner. It keeps cleaning 24-7 after you’ve applied it until the next usage.


This product is 100% natural, non-foaming, and amalgam separator approved.


Additionally, you won’t need to clean your hand trap every day with Bio-Pure (which also boasts a 6-8 pH balance).


100% eco-friendly and EPA Amalgam Separator compliant, Bio-Pure can be used at the end of each day. Or, you could apply it twice weekly.


One of the more attractive features of Bio-Pure is that it costs less per usage than similar products. This benefit stems from Bio-Pure’s use of enzymes to catalyze removing and cleaning debris from the tubing.


Other potential evacuation system cleaners to consider are Bio-Pure’s Powder eVac System Maintenance Cleaner, Liquid eVac Cleaner, and Between Patient Flush.


There’s then the matter of shock treatments to help rid your dental evacuation system of the accumulated deposits missed by daily cleanings. In this instance, Bio-Pure’s Evac Restore Kit will do the trick. Bio-Pure Evac Restore Kit is ideal for older offices and simply clearing out the accumulated debris in the evac lines.


Consider These Helpful Pointers For Suction Traps


We briefly touched on the need to remove suction traps once weekly. You’ll need to switch them more often when clogs develop in the traps.


Whatever you do, avoid tossing used suction traps in the trash. They contain amalgam particles that can be harmful.


A licensed hazardous/medical waste remover should dispose of suction traps. Amalgam capsules also shouldn’t be thrown into the garbage since there’s a chance they contain mercury.


Dental Evacuation System Maintenance Is A Crucial Facet Of All Dental Practices.


Your dental suction system might be an unsung hero, but that doesn’t make it any less of a hero! It’s foundational dental equipment that keeps your practice running smoothly.


After all, efficient suctioning is integral to providing safe and reliable dental care to your patients.

Generic Administrator at 4:25 AM
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