Dental Amalgam is a mixture of elemental mercury and a combination of alloys like copper, silver, and tin. It is one of the oldest materials in dental practices used for a dental filling. Though amalgam is entirely safe for patients, it is not safe for the environment. Mercury, which is one of the constituents, is considered toxic when released in the environment.
According to Australian Dental Association rules, dentists have to install amalgam filters in their clinic to ensure it is separated, and a large amount of it is not entering municipal drainage systems.
Not all amalgam separation devices are made the same. To make things easy, we have shared tips to buy a high-quality amalgam separator for your dental practice.
Not all dental clinics are the same. Some dental clinics might be handling few patients in a day while some might be handling hundreds in a day. Based on this factor, the vacuum system should be large enough to handle the daily waste output. The same thing applies to an amalgam separator, too.
The device should be properly sized according to drainage lines. For example, if the drainage line is big (around 2″ in diameter), you will need a separator with large inlet and outlet connections. Focusing on the sizing is crucial to not reduce the separator’s suction volume and work efficiently.
A general rule is, the more the waste generated in your clinic, the more work the separator has to do. The separator filters not only amalgam waste but also other waste generated during different dental procedures.
For example, prophy paste pumice is generated during the dental cleaning procedure. Air abrasion also produces some waste. The separator traps all these. As mentioned earlier, not all separators are created equal. Some have greater filtering capacity than others. It will help if you look for a separator with sufficient filtering capacity.
Reporting and Annual Maintenance
The dental clinic has to report the installation and removal of separators to local control authorities. The one-time compliance report mentions the clinic, and its operations and the separator meet the required performance standards. Dental clinics are also required to keep a record of the maintenance of the separator. The maintenance report mentions how many filters were changed in a year.
Some separators require you to maintain these details manually. An advanced amalgam separator uses a 3rd party tool for compliance. As this is an essential part of your practice, you need to get a separator with proper reporting tools. If you have many dental offices, make sure the separator offers a unified interface to keep maintenance reports of all separators in one place.
Guarantee and Durability
A separator is an expensive piece of equipment. Some amalgam separators are built to last a lifetime. Make sure the separator you select is made of durable materials, and the quality is equally good.
If you are not cautious enough, you will end up replacing separators every few years. Similarly, don’t forget to look for guarantees. A few manufacturers offer lifetime guarantees. When purchasing a separator, ask the dealer what kind of guarantee the product comes with.
By purchasing a high-quality separator, you can ensure your dental practice does minimal damage to the environment. Focus on essential aspects to help you select your dental office’s best separator.