Five Things Most Amalgam Separator Manufacturers Don’t Want You to Know- Part 3

Thank you for following our blog series on Five Things Amalgam Separator Manufacturers Do Not Want You to Know.

 

So far we have discussed;

#1 – Not All ISO Tested Amalgam Separators Work
#2 – Replacement Filters are Over Priced
#3 – Misleading Amalgam Separator Service Lives and Maintenance

 

The last segment of this Blog Series will be discussing;

#4 – Why your service company does not supply the Best Available Technology in amalgam separation
#5 – Your Amalgam Separator May Not Keep Your Office Compliant

 

#4 – Why Your Service Company Does Not Supply the Best Available Technology in Amalgam Separation

It is essential for Dental Professionals to remember, Supply Companies cannot carry every dental product on the market, no matter the size of the company. There could be any number of reasons a company does not sell the best available amalgam separator currently on the market. The more common motives tend to be;

1) Knowledge and Comfortability

2) Profitability

Knowledge and Comfortability

Often, when a Dental Supplier has had a particular product line in their catalog, rarely would you find them actively looking for newer and better technology. Most Dental Supply companies have already had a type of an amalgam separator in their catalog for many years. It has been found, regardless of newer, better available technology, a Dental Supply company will rather keep a system that they are familiar with than find better value-add products to supply their customers.

Profitability

Above all Dental Supply companies are businesses, and they are out there to make money. Though most service companies recognize value-add and cost-saving products may yield lower margins but result in happier and loyal customers, some Dental Supply companies do not share the same business model. These Dental Suppliers have realized they may not have to provide the best-valued product to their customers as the already existing relationship allows them to convince their Dentists to purchase high maintenance, high-cost systems that further the bottom-line of the Dental Supply company.

Now that being said, there have been cases where amalgam separator manufacturers have chosen not to sell through a Supply Company, even the larger companies. The motives for not providing every Dental Supply company could be;

– The two companies business models don’t match
– The manufacturer does not wish to saturate the market with suppliers to allow their distributors to succeed in their territory with less competition.
– The manufacturer could remove the Dental Supplier’s right to sell their product due to not allowing the manufacturer to train the Dental Supplier’s staff regularly.

When considering purchasing almost any product, it is suggested to search around for other suppliers. It must be remembered not all companies can sell all the products on the market, no matter the size of the Supply Company. By spending a little time researching, you could find better technology that could save your practice time and money.

#5 – Your Amalgam Separator May Not Keep Your Office Compliant

If you have been following this Blog Series, you would already know that most amalgam separators have been found not to meet their advertised ISO separation percentages in clinical applications (RCDSO 2002) (Purves Study 2014). You will also be aware that the ISO testing standards are not an accurate depiction of the testing completed by Local Control Groups, such as your Local Water Treatment Plants. Most Water Treatment Plants test the Dental Practice discharge, using the EPA Standard 245.7 which tests for total mercury (solid and soluble). Most amalgam separator manufacturers are aware of these testing standards and studies. Even though this common knowledge is well known in the amalgam separator industry, no apparent changes have been made to the designs or functions of most amalgam separators.

Amalgam Separator

If you were to read our previous blogs regarding the EPA, you would find that many amalgam separator manufacturers are cherry picking excerpts from the EPA Regulation to make their amalgam separators appear compliant. In some cases, you will discover amalgam separator manufacturers make up Regulations such as “systems have to be changed annually” in the attempt to compete against newer and superior technology that could service an office for up to 3 years.

Dental Practices with Amalgam Separators

Roughly 20,000 Dentists currently have an amalgam separator installed in their Dental Practice with the wrong understanding that their system is seen as compliant until 2027. The truth is, as mentioned above, some amalgam separator manufacturers have released misinformation about the EPA Regulation. In many cases this “Grandfathering” rule that is being advertised by many amalgam separator manufacturers only focus on the first half of the paragraph in the EPA Regulations. The remainder of this statement reads;

“The final rule allows dental offices to continue to operate existing amalgam separators for their lifetime or ten years (whichever comes first), as long as the dental discharger complies with the other rule requirements including the specified BMPs, operation and maintenance, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements. Once the separator needs to be replaced or the ten year period has ended, dental offices will need to replace the amalgam separator with one that meets the requirements of the final rule.” EPA Dental Regulation – Final Rule.

In a nutshell, the rest of the EPA Regulation states, if your amalgam separator is found not to meet the standards of your Local Control Group, you may be required to upgrade to better technology.

Dental Practices without an Amalgam Separator

As roughly 80% of Dental Practices in the United States do not have an amalgam separator installed, it is recommended to get a written guarantee from the manufacturer of the systems are you considering. The guarantee should state that the manufacturer will make any appropriate changes to your amalgam separator, at their cost, if your Practice was found to be non-compliant.

Simply put, if a manufacturer of a compliance product you are considering does not believe enough in their system to offer a written guarantee of compliance, you may wish to look at other amalgam separators.

 

Resources

1. Watson P, Adegbembo A & Lugowski S – A Study of the Fate of Mercury from the Placement and Removal Of Dental Amalgam Restorations Final Report Part 1: Removal of Dental Amalgam Restorations 2002; p. 5-6; p. 26-27
2. Purves W. Dental Separator Study 2014; p. 5
3. Page 27162, in the second column, in the 1st – 9th line of the third paragraph under D. Requirements 1. Performance Standard

 

Future Blogs

Please stay tuned to the M.A.R.S Blogs as we will be releasing information about our attendance at the Greater New York Dental Conference and our release of the M.A.R.S Amalgam Separator Upgrade Kit.