Dental consumables are an undervalued but major part of the business of dentistry.
Quality and provenance are important considerations in the ethical sourcing of these everyday practice products. Each one plays a vital role in the safe delivery of dental care. Without them, dentists and their teams simply could not practise.
However, access to key dental consumables has been somewhat limited of late. Add to this the plethora of cheap and substandard products available via the internet and the process of online purchasing can be a bit of a nightmare – from sources within the UK, as well as overseas.
Each flagship consumable has its own unique ‘must have’ characteristics that sets the industry standard. Dentists and their teams often use these as a benchmark when purchasing like for like. Excellence in quality and assurances of safety, consistency and reliability are key to clinical care within a practice. So why not apply the same parameters to the products used to protect you, your staff and patients?
In essence, it’s the small things that count, which is why it is important to source essential dental consumables from trusted suppliers.
The British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) created an online product directory recently in a bid to limit the risks to practice teams when purchasing quality products and services. The directory guides practitioners, practice managers and procurement personnel so they can safely find, select and purchase practice items, including all their dental consumables. By helping teams find everything they need from reliable and trustworthy suppliers, the BDIA has gone partway to relieving the stresses often associated with the purchasing process.
The phrase ‘peace of mind’ is often used in relation to the patient experience, but it applies to the day-to-day running of a dental business, too. With a common interest in raising standards within the industry, shared values and a comprehensive professional code of practice, practice teams can be rest assured that any dental suppliers signed up to the BDIA directory are taking seriously the part they play in helping practitioners deliver safe dental career.
Different types of dental consumables
With more 50 years of heritage and expertise, DD prides itself on delivering the high standards dentists have come to expect – and that includes the substantial range of consumables it has to offer.
Much of dental consumables is to do with meeting the day-to-day hygiene requirements.
Top 11 most used dental consumables
- Face masks - A key player within the dental consumable market, facemasks and face coverings have always been essential items even before coronavirus. The internet has been swamped with options in the past year or so, and not always ethically sourced. What is important for dentists and their teams is that masks are professional grade and meet the standards expected within a clinical environment. Masks need to be fluid- and splash-resistant and comfortable, fitting snugly with ear loops (using a mask tightener if needs be). Mask options include 3-ply, surgical, type IIR, FFP2 and FFP3.
Any FFP3 (NPF 50) masks should offer protection against hazardous airborne contaminates in medical environments. They should be approved to the European Medical Device Directive (93/42/EEC) and EN14683:2005 Type IIR for use as a surgical mask, be secure and offer practitioners a comfortable seal with features that help to reduce eyewear fogging as well as allow for adjustment.
- Single-use disposable gloves - Single-use disposable gloves are the second most popular key essential within the surgery. Their integrity is paramount to the safe delivery of dental care – protecting staff and patients alike. Proper glove choice is an important infection control protocol, as is the choice of storage. Gloves do not offer complete protection against hand contamination but they do need to be an adequate barrier.
Examination gloves should be manufactured from a high-quality nitrile formulation so they are strong but lightweight – providing barrier protection against viruses, bacteria, chemicals whilst remaining thin enough for a high level of tactile sensitivity.
- Tray liners - Filter paper lining for instrument trays should be high in strength and absorbency. Hygienic and disposable, dentists and their teams need to be rest assured of liners that comply with infection control protocols, protect equipment and fold flat for ease of storage. Tray liners can be coated – the classic is 4ply, heavy weight bonded with a PE layer – or uncoated.
Some disposable tray liners are pre-formed to offer different areas to place instruments and materials. This can potentially save time by helping staff to easily dispose of materials.
Colour-coded tray liners can also assist in surgery management and paper plastic laminates are ideally suited for a disposable working surface. And because we are all increasingly aware of the effect dentistry can have on the environment, there are now options for 100% biodegradable tray liners, too.
- Cups - Squat or tall (to suit all dispensers), latex-free disposable cups come in a range of bright colours to suit all practice designs. A staple of any surgery, they need to be strong (so no accidental spillage by patients), comfortable to handle and easy to sip from.
- Bibs - Dental bibs ensure patients remain dry and clean. They should be resistant to tears – so premium quality in strength is paramount – as well as absorbent. Options include those with collection pockets, practical tear-off perforation and easy fix neck-tie fastenings. Some come on a dispenser roll for ease of use.
- 3-in-one tips - When purchasing 3-in-one tips, look for easy-to-use options – for some, there is no adaptor required. Ensure superior air/water spray, designs that eliminate water leaks and have no sharp edges to ensure patient safety. They need to be designed to prevent cross contamination, as well as comply with OSHA guidelines. Some are Latex free
- Aspirator tips - Aspirator tips can be disposable or autoclavable and some are now ergonomically designed for maximum patient comfort.
- Hand towels - There is nothing worse than shoddy and rough hand towels that fall apart when pulled from a dispenser and are rough to touch. Extra soft but strong, hand towels need to be absorbent to ensure good hygiene, comfort and care.
- Wipes - Surface cleaning and disinfection is critical for effective infection control measures in the dental surgery. The use of antibacterial and antimicrobial wipes in a dental practice is essential in eradicating bacteria, viruses and fungi from work surfaces and therefore paramount in ensuring patient safety. Ideally, they should provide maximum protection at all times, providing hygienic cleaning on all surfaces. They can be pH balanced, dermatologically tested and ideally kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, including coronavirus. Some contain alcohol with others containing aloe vera and moisturisers, so gentle on skin.
- Saliva ejectors - When purchasing a saliva ejector, look for flexibility, adaptability to suit slow speed ejector systems, plus a quick disconnect fitting for easy placement and removal.
- Cotton wool rolls - A basic dental surgery essential, cotton wool is suitable for numerous clinical applications as well as cleansing., Ideally, your choice should be made from 100% pure cotton to ensure it is gentle to touch, of consistent high quality and highly absorbent to minimise usage. Ideal for topical cleansing and swabbing, or as cushioning or an absorbent secondary layer, too, it should be easy to unroll without sticking together and the required quantity gently torn off, limiting wastage.
View DD's full range of Dental Consumables.