Safety + Efficiency = Happiness!

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There is so much that goes into running a successful dental practice or network. It requires maintaining efficient operational systems, obtaining and balancing inventory and supplies, and navigating through the ever-changing advancements and regulations we are challenged to meet. But overall, the success of a dental practice requires an entire team of individuals truly working together with one common goal… what is your practice’s mission?

As a result of the pandemic, many practices were forced to minimize their delivery of treatment. Teams found themselves having more time to evaluate operational systems that were working and those that were not. Through this, some teams had to acknowledge the harsh truth that their systems weren’t allowing them to be the best team they can be. Many clinic owners and staff members had to ask themselves a hard question before they transitioned back into treating patients – is it worth it to go back?

It’s no hidden secret that dentistry can be stressful at times. There are days you probably feel overwhelmed with all the new interim guidelines and regulations. And who can blame you? It’s a lot! But we can’t forget that our industry is made up of amazingly resilient individuals. Most dental professionals choose this career path knowing that it may be difficult but going for it anyways because they want to help people live their best lives. Dentistry is an essential part of our healthcare system and the overall health of those we deliver treatment to. We can’t forget that the care we provide day in and day out is making a huge impact on so many people’s lives!

So, what goes into making easy-to-follow operational systems that can boost the moral of your team? And how can you achieve your team’s mission of helping people with their overall health through dentistry? One simple formula: safety + efficiency = happiness. That’s our focus at Zirc Dental Products. We pride ourselves on manufacturing products right here in the U.S. that deliver safety for both the clinical team and their patients, in addition to providing tools and services that empower teams to become more organized and efficient. The results have been clear: a happier team that is driven to work together to fulfill their practice’s mission.

Let’s talk about the concept of safety. Dentistry has always been focused on safety. And with that commitment to safety, it has been ever-evolving in terms of regulations and recommendations. We are always looking for ways to develop even safer environments for our team members and patients. Mr. Thirsty® One-Step is an isolation and high-volume evacuation (HVE) device that has sparked a lot of attention. No matter what your role at your practice is, it’s difficult when you have to work alone and maintain an optimal working field. Mr. Thirsty® One-Step helps you juggle the many tasks at hand all while providing an elevated patient experience.

As a hygienist, I always knew the use of an HVE was required any time an aerosol-generating procedure was being performed. However, it was extremely difficult to work alone and hold a standard HVE tip. Ergonomically, it just doesn’t work. I was delighted to discover Mr. Thirsty® One-Step! Not only did it allow me to have an optimal working field and use HVE, it was so easy to implement. It didn’t require any extra pieces or adaptors – it just attaches to an existing HVE valve and it’s ready to go! Better yet, it made me super efficient! I no longer had to take breaks for my patient to tap down on the saliva ejector because this device has powerful front and back evacuation coverage for moisture control. And to be totally honest, the most appealing feature to me was that it’s disposable. I didn’t have to worry about impacting my schedule with any added cleaning and reprocessing time. With the ability to reduce aerosol production by 90 percent, it gave me peace of mind that I was capturing most of the aerosol and splatter before it left my patient’s mouth – keeping both myself and my patient safer!

Efficiency in the dental office is something we all strive for. Unfortunately, most practices face some inefficiencies due to a reluctancy to change. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of “we’ve always done it this way” or “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” But sometimes thinking this way can really make it hard to see when things could be done a better way. It’s the “little” things that get you – each time an assistant has to leave a procedure for a missing material or a hygienist is missing a certain scaler from their setup, they are wasting minutes that add up quickly. The frustration of having to find the missing items and leaving appointments mid-procedure doesn’t go unnoticed by our patients. It communicates to our patients that we are disorganized both as individual clinicians and as a practice. These “little” minutes lead to longer appointment times and frustration for all parties involved.

Many times, inefficiencies like these can be easily resolved if you evaluate your process of instrument and material management. Zirc has a simple solution called the Color Method™. You get started by assigning a color to each procedure performed in your practice. You then incorporate a variety of color-coded products that match the chosen color for each procedure, such as resin cassettes that hold the required instruments and bur or endo holders. For example, the instruments in a setup for a basic exam will look much different than the instruments needed for a composite filling. Cassettes not only keep your instruments from being misplaced, they also keep your instruments safe and organized during reprocessing. No more sorting instruments! An instrument management system is important for safety too – it reduces the risk of potential sharps injury and minimizes the handling of contaminated instruments.

The color-coded products are housed on trays with locking covers and stored in the central sterilization area. The locking covers help you stay safe and compliant with the CDC and ADA regarding transportation of contaminated instruments to and from the sterilization area, but also allow you to stack your setups to store them for simple grab and go organization.

Lastly, we incorporate procedure tubs for managing all the dental materials that are specific to each procedure. A color-coded procedure tub eliminates the need to stock materials in each operatory, which can be extremely expensive especially when a material expires due to seldomly being used or forgotten about. These tubs also have locking covers, to keep the materials clean throughout the procedure. And you won’t have to get up and leave during a procedure anymore to track down a missing material because you’ll have everything you need when you need it. Zirc researched this inefficiency and found that on average it wastes 3 minutes each time a clinician has to leave the treatment room. If this happens 5 times a day, now you’ve spent 15 mins of valuable time per operatory, and over the course of a week those minutes add up to hours!

The Color Method™ creates a streamlined process from set up to sterilization, providing your clinical team with a stress-free day-to-day routine all while increasing your practice’s overall productivity. When a simple and easy-to-follow operational system is in place, all of the individuals at the dental practice can succeed by working together towards one common goal – help people live their best lives through excellent and important dentistry. When you are willing to evaluate your systems and make some simple changes, your team will not only be safer and more efficient… but truly happy to collaborate towards better outcomes!

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Written by: Tina Punton, Zirc Clinical Account Executive, Special Markets. Tina spent 23 years as a practicing hygienist before joining the Zirc team. She specializes in helping DSOs and group practices become more efficient. As a consultant for our RESET program, Tina understands just how busy practices are on a day-to-day basis. She enjoys being able to help them get organized and make each day moving forward a happier one! Email Tina at Visit Zirc’s website at

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