Poor amalgam separator maintenance can lead to costly damage to a suction pump. Dental Clinics who have already experienced a suction breakdown, due to the neglected of an amalgam separator, can confirm the costs. Not only were the repairs expensive, but the loss of business caused by the breakdown resulted in lost revenue.
Poor Amalgam Separator Maintenance
Regardless of your feelings on amalgam separators, there are still two valid facts that cannot be ignored. 1) By 2020, every Dental Practice in the United States will be required to have an amalgam separator installed and maintained to manufacturer’s specifications. 2) Once you have an amalgam separator installed in your Practice, you cannot neglect the system, as it can cause severe damage to your equipment.
In countries like Canada and States like New York, Dental Professionals have a hard-hitting realization about amalgam separator maintenance. If an amalgam separator is not maintained to manufacturer specifications, the neglected amalgam separator has often resulted in costly damage to a suction pump. Dental Clinics who have already experienced a suction breakdown, due to the neglected of an amalgam separator, can confirm the costs. Not only were the repairs expensive, but the loss of business caused by the breakdown resulted in lost revenue.
Today’s blog will serve as a warning for Dental Practices who choose to ignore the required maintenance of their Dental Equipment, focusing on the damage a non-compliant amalgam separator can cause your suction pumps.
A Dental Practice in Ottawa, Canada had a Service Company who was not M.A.R.S Certified on amalgam separator maintenance. The Service Technician neglected the filter type amalgam separator, which resulted from her losing suction and killing two of her wet-ring pumps.
The damage was due to the upper chamber of the amalgam separator, it was full, so it blocked the air from passing through the system. The Technician and Dental Practice did not complete the weekly inspections required by filter based amalgam separators. Due to the neglect, the amalgam separator’s filter clogged, causing sediment to build in the upper chamber. Over time, the upper chamber filled with sludge and water, creating a seal, preventing air from passing easily through the amalgam separator.
The Service Technician, lacking the understanding of amalgam separator maintenance, was convinced the suction issues were due to the evacuation lines being damaged. The Technician’s “solution” was to tell the Dental Practice that they have to replace all their suction lines, a price tag of roughly $40,000.
As luck should have it, the Doctor met M.A.R.S at a Dental conference just before they approved the work on replacing their suction lines. A M.A.R.S Certified Amalgam Separator Specialist was sent to the office to offer an Amalgam Separator Consult. Almost instantly the C.A.S.S Technician determined the cause of the suction issue. That day they upgraded the neglected filter based amalgam separator with the M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS. The suction improved immediately, saving the Dental Practice thousands of dollars.
Dry Vacuum System
A Dental Practice in Markham, Canada had a new dry-vacuum pump installed in their practice. After a few months of owning the new suction pump, the Dental Practice was experiencing suction issues. The suction pump would suddenly turn off mid-day and sometimes mid-procedure.
The Dental Practice installed a new dry-vacuum pump but did not replace their neglected amalgam separator. The Service Company and the Dental Practice did not perform the required weekly maintenance of the filter type amalgam separator. Eventually, the upper chamber of the amalgam separator was filled entirely with toxic sludge. The sludge was then released from the amalgam separator into the air/water separator of the dry vacuum pump. The sludge was gumming up the ball-valve on the outlet of the pump’s air/water separator. With the ball valve hindered, it didn’t allow the air/water separator to drain correctly, causing suction issues in practice.
Due to the lack of experience from the Service Company in amalgam separator maintenance, the Service Company’s solution for their client was to install a backup pump. Based on the recommendation from the unexperienced Service Company, the Dental Practice purchased a $4,000 Wet-ring pump and hired a plumber to install the new set-up, costing another $1,000 for the installation and parts. One of the most significant issues with this “solution,” the plumber installed the wet-ring pump to by-pass the amalgam separator whenever it was in use. By having the amalgam separator by-passed, this left the Dental Practice non-compliant.
With the Dental Practice still having suction issues, they had a M.A.R.S Certified Amalgam Separator Specialist, from Dental Fix, examine their mechanical room. After a couple of moments to follow the labyrinth of suction lines, the Dental Fix Technician discovered the cause of the suction loss. The root of the suction loss was due to the neglected filter based amalgam separator.
The Dental Fix Technician upgraded the office to a M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS, correctly installing the amalgam separator so that both suction pumps were installed after the LibertyBOSS. Once they had suction again, the Dental Fix Technician instructed them to begin the use of the M.A.R.S LINZ Evacuation Line Cleaner Program. With the combination of the LibertyBOSS and the M.A.R.S LINZ Program, this Dental Practice has never experienced suction loss again, making the backup pump redundant.
These Dental Practices had to learn about preventative maintenance the hard way. In almost every case, improperly maintained equipment would end up costing you more in the long run. Be sure to maintain your equipment to manufacturer specifications. Please visit www.marsbiomed.com to watch the M.A.R.S Preventative Maintenance Videos on the top six amalgam separators sold in North America. These videos will give you simple instructions on the required maintenance of your amalgam separator, saving you money and keeping you compliant.