How Creative Marketing is Leaving You Non-Compliant – Part One: Understanding How Amalgam Separators Function

This blog will be explaining how amalgam separators function and why they require servicing according to manufacturer’s specifications, even if they seem to be working without causing suction loss.

 LibertyBOSS 2017-1

Other Amalgam Separator Manufacturers Marketing “Tools”

“M.A.R.S Bio-Med has an amalgam separator that can service a 400 operatory Dental Practice for 3 years with NO Filters and NO Maintenance, provided only one Doctor and one Hygienist worked at this clinic.“

The statement above may sound ridiculous, but it is a slightly exaggerated example of marketing from many amalgam separator manufacturers. Unfortunately, it is not just Dentists who are targeted with this type of marketing, it is service and supply companies as well. The fact that dental supply and service companies are misleading about amalgam separator capabilities and service lives, further confuse the dental industry, leaving many dental practices non-compliant.

The point of this blog is to assist Dental Professionals in seeing through the creative marketing of some amalgam separator manufacturers. When considering purchasing an amalgam separator for the first time, or determining the required maintenance of your current amalgam separator, this three-part blog series will illustrate how to see the truth behind the marketing.

Part One of this blog will be explaining how amalgam separators function and why they require servicing according to manufacturer’s specifications, even if they seem to be working without causing suction loss.

How Amalgam Separators Work

What Fills Amalgam Separators?

Dental Professionals have to consider how amalgam separators work. Most amalgam separators are settling based in some form or another. This means that they capture anything heavier than water, not just amalgam. Conservatively speaking, the percentage of amalgam in a separator is roughly 10% or less. The remaining is prophy paste, oxides and pumice. Some systems are even designed to pull bio-film into their filters, which will add to the material captured by your amalgam separator.

How amalgam separators work- prophy paste

Note: Most amalgam separators (other than chairside systems) are designed to enter into by-pass when they have reached their capacity. This design is so there isn’t an obstruction of suction when the system has filled. Some amalgam separators can run on by-pass for years without any suction loss, which could cause a strain on your vacuum as the toxic sludge will be entering your pump and gumming up the mechanisms. Other amalgam separators will seemingly function for some time on by-pass, still allowing toxic sludge to enter your vacuum and when it has reached its threshold of sludge and water, it can bring your suction to a sudden stop. In both cases, the whole amalgam separator will need to be replaced entirely. For Dental Practices to avoid sudden suction loss and damage to your equipment, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s required service schedule.

 

Part two of our Blog Series will be discussing how to avoid being tricked by some amalgam separator’s misleading advertised service schedules. By knowing how to spot the marketing from the truth, you will understand how to keep your office compliant with your current amalgam separator or avoid purchasing the wrong system.