You’re a dentist, not a mechanic. However, you do have a few things in common.
Not only do you work with instruments but you both work with various tools and equipment. More importantly, your tools and equipment require maintenance if you’re going to get the most out of them.
Especially when it comes to your dental suction system.
Your e-vac is one of the most important tools in your practice, and preventative maintenance is absolutely essential to extend its lifespan and optimize performance.
Failing to properly maintain your equipment means you won't be able to reap the full benefits of the investment – and in the COVID-19 era, you can’t afford frivolous expenditures.
Worst of all, you won’t be able to provide the best possible care to your dental patients.
So, to avoid these pitfalls mentioned above, read on as we dig into the topic of preventative maintenance for your dental evacuation system.
The Value of Preventative Evacuation System Maintenance
The Average Dental Practice has between 1300 and 1500 patients. That means you need to deliver care with both skill and speed.
With such a busy schedule, it's impossible to maintain your dental evacuation system if you're working on it ad hoc.
Regularly scheduling your maintenance ensures you’re taking care of your equipment because you’ve made the necessary room in your packed calendar. It’s there, etched in stone for you to remember, instead of going by the seat of your pants!
What’s Involved In Day-to-Day E-Vac Maintenance?
Suction pump maintenance should be completed every morning before your first appointment. Here’s what you’ll need to do (in order):
- Flush the water lines (with your preferred treatment solution) for at least two minutes.
- Fill up the water supply of your self-contained water system or sterilizer.
- Be sure to flush the water line for 30 seconds in between each patient
- Use an EPA-compliant evacuation system cleaning solution like Bio-Pure to flush your pump lines at the end of each day, or twice per week.
- Use an EPA-compliant goo trap cleaning solution like Bio-Pure to clear out the e-vac's trap.
- Disinfect and clean the outer surfaces of your dental suction system.
You should also perform the following monthly maintenance tasks on your dental suction system (in order):
- Thoroughly clean the sterilizer chamber using the appropriate cleaning solution
- Inspect the sterilizer seal, then clean it, and replace, if necessary
- Using a mild cleaner, clean your sump pump’s surface, getting rid of disinfectant residue
How About Extended Downtime?
Closing your office for more than four days? Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can get your evacuation system back up and running:
- Turn on your suction system if your chair spittoon connects to the vacuum system.
- Empty 1-litre of diluted suction pump disinfection solution down the drain, then follow up with clean water (2 litres).
- Flip off suction pump switches and, with a solution, clean off encrusted lime or lingering cleaning agents.
- Don’t leave your suction filters in cleaning solutions or bleach.
- If you’re away from your practice for a while, ensure you or someone else visits once per week to flush your suction pump and remove potential clogs from your suction lines.
Pitfalls of Neglecting Dental Suction Pump Maintenance
Failing to maintain your suction pump will lead to malfunctions, such as a clogged collection canister. This problem leads to a strained pump and weakness in the overall suction.
Moreover, evacuation system maintenance helps to remove aerosols in your practice. During COVID-19, aerosol-reduction is absolutely integral, as it will reduce the chance of viral transmission.
Most importantly, a well-maintained E-Vac system with adequate, consistent suction ensures you offer your patients the best treatments possible, improving your reputation and your practice’s profit margins in turn.