At first it may seem daunting to try and choose between the various brands of self-contained portable dental turbine unit available. Prices can vary widely with some seemingly too good to be true to even higher priced units not always being clear on what and how well they work. The purpose of this article is to simplify the purchase decision and explain some of the mechanical features and what to look for when comparing different models of portable dental units for your office.
Look for these specific features when evaluating a portable dental unit for purchase for office use or portable dentistry:
Vibration – We will start our discussion with one of the most overlooked but important characteristics of evaluating a mobile dental delivery unit. An ideal system will have a powerful compressor and vacuum system, meaning the motors could generate significant vibration.
High Grade Compressor and Vacuum Pumps – Higher quality pumps are made with greater precision and the dynamic balancing of the motors and piston will make them run smoother. This smoother operation is the key to beginning with proper construction to eliminate vibration at its source.
Solid and Robust Construction Materials – Units that have poor construction or use flimsy materials will not handle vibration well and will cause problems. A well-built portable dental unit will be not only constructed of high-grade components, but will have thicker walls and materials. To keep these units lighter yet stronger they should use aluminum or an equivalent type of construction. Be cautious of units that are too small or lightweight to properly absorb vibration.
Suction Performance – One of the most difficult design areas for a mobile dental unit to create, is the powerful suction desired for dental procedures. It needs to provide high flow with moderate strength to pick up debris, capture water coolant effectively and pull viscous solutions through smaller tubings like the saliva ejector or surgical tips.
Suction Canister and Purging Ability – The suction canister should be sized to allow for a standard day of procedures with normal rinsing during treatment. Generally, a good baseline is that the canister should hold around two to three liters of liquid.
Sound Performance – A very common and important question when selecting a portable dental unit for an office is how loud is it? The reason is that many in the dental field have heard how loud inexpensive and poorly designed dental units with air compressors can be. A well-engineered portable dental system should be very quiet and operate under 48 decibels measured right next to the system.
Compressed Air and Headpiece Performance – When evaluating a portable dental unit with compressor, make sure that the internal air compressor provided can produce enough air flow at the right pressure to operate air driven dental turbine headpieces properly. Even electrical dental high speeds use air for cooling and need proper air flow.
Dental Water Supply and Water Line Disinfection – Current requirements are mandating that the water lines in dental delivery units be disinfected to remove the biofilm that can grow inside the small diameter tubings. Tablets and other chemicals can clog or damage portable dental unit components and require consistent management to ensure that the removal of biofilm is obtained.
Amalgam Separation – If you will be using the portable dental unit for restorative procedures such as removing old amalgam fillings, the suction system will need the ability to use an amalgam separator.
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