Unleash Efficiency: A Strategic Approach to Dental Material Management

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Here’s a challenge for you – streamline your clinical systems so you can control the abundance of dental materials and products that can create chaos and clutter!

Dentistry requires an extensive variety of materials and instruments which adds complexity to the reprocessing flow, making it challenging to streamline storage and retrieval. There are materials shoved in cabinets, treatment rooms, storage areas, hall closets, the sterilization center – you name it! This can make managing inventory time-consuming and ineffective – not to mention expensive!

Without an inventory management system in place, practices can acquire so much extra stuff over time. 

Dealer reps drop off product samples that may never get used so they live in drawers. 

Dental professionals jump on the “buy 10 cartridges of bite registration material, get one free” deal, because heck, it’s a great deal!

And when new materials are purchased, the old, unused materials hang out endlessly in a cabinet with all the other old, replaced materials… just in case.

But what if this practice location only has one or two dentists? How likely is it that some of that material will expire before it gets used? What if there’s another great deal you can’t pass up?

This only creates a storage nightmare.

Dr. Derek Abramowski of Southside Dental in Monticello, MN recently did a clinical workflow overhaul to address this issue.

After his team cleaned the practice out, Dr. Abramowski was surprised to say, “We found a ton of expired products. We ended up with an entire bin with hundreds of extra instruments. That is a ton of money just sitting in drawers we didn’t even know we had.”

Southside Dental was very clean and orderly, like most practices, but you just don’t realize how much extra unusable or unneeded stuff you have until you really start digging through everything!

So… what are the problems when there’s excess inventory stored in multiple locations?

  • Money is lost due to expired materials
  • Clutter creates a stressful and less productive environment
  • Time is wasted looking for needed items
  • Supplies and materials are ordered too often and overstocked
  • Stock is unintentionally depleted
  • Treatment rooms need to be restocked often
  • Procedures are stopped midway to get missing or lost materials
  • Rushed to stay on schedule
  • Extra time spent in room turnover
  • Training new team members is difficult and time-consuming
  • Patient perception is poor, and referrals and treatment plan acceptance may decrease

Are you feeling inspired to reset and get organized? 

Start by removing procedure-specific materials (such as etch, composite, retraction cord, or articulating paper) from treatment room drawers. 

Clinicians may find creative ways to get all of these procedure-specific materials organized in treatment room drawers but having all of these materials in multiple drawers in multiple rooms can create lengthy room setups; lost, expired, or missing materials; and an over-abundance of stock.

We all know what a few hectic weeks can do to even the most organized drawers! When we’re in a hurry, the supplies get pushed to the wayside and soon the drawers are scattered with materials that have strayed from their intended position. The messier the drawers become, the more time-consuming it is to find the materials needed to set up for a procedure.

When the assistant or hygienist can’t find what they are looking for right away, they run to the other treatment room or get a new one from the storage area. Eventually, this results in having multiple opened materials hiding in the drawers, and when finally discovered, they are often expired. Materials and money wasted!

Storing procedure-specific materials in the treatment room causes problems during appointments as well. The dentist and assistant are in the middle of a procedure when the assistant discovers they are missing one of the required materials – it’s happened to even the best of us! 

But now the procedure comes to a screeching halt as the assistant rushes to remove their gloves, wash their hands, run to the storage area to grab the material and run back to the treatment room. Then they have to wash their hands again before quickly trying to stuff damp hands into gloves – and any clinician knows how difficult it is to get damp hands into gloves!

It’s been estimated that three minutes are lost each time a procedure is stopped to run and find something. 

This adds stress and frustration for clinicians and patients. Just think about how often you or a team member have to leave to find missing material… that can really add up to a lot of time wasted throughout a day! This wasted time affects your patients too. 

Dr. Cappy Sinclair of Virginia Beach, VA revealed, “My biggest pet peeve is having to get up mid-procedure. There is nothing that can break the confidence more of the practitioner than to tell the patient to wait while we have to go get something.”

Give your team new tools to enhance material management and achieve a lean clinical workflow.

Begin by separating all procedure-specific materials by procedure and organizing them in a color-coded procedure tub with a locking cover. By choosing a different colored tub for each procedure, the clinical staff will be ready for quick identification and grab-and-go organization that benefits everyone in the practice! Whether a doctor is setting up for an emergency patient after hours or a temp is in office for the first time, everyone is set up for success. Simply grab the blue composite tub and all the materials will be right at your fingertips and safely nestled into our variety of tub accessories.

Tubs are truly the key to maintaining control over material inventory. Think of it as a portable drawer! 

Store the tubs and overstock inventory in central sterilization. This gives everyone easy access to the tubs so that they can grab and go to the treatment room, move to a different room for another patient if needed, and then back to central sterilization for storage. Since the tubs and the materials inside them will always be returned to that same spot, treatment room setup will be faster. And you’ll easily be able to see when an item is running low.

Request a free complete tub to try for yourself.

Stop wasting time and money due to the lack of a good material management system. 

Dr. Abramowski has been seeing results ever since, “When I met with my accountant, he noted that our office spends less on supplies than almost all of his other clients!” 

Dentistry will always require a lot of supplies, but new systems will create a scalable solution that will make each day easier and less stressful for your team. 

Zirc Dental Products created Color Method: a methodology and set of principles used to improve clinical workflow in the dental practice. The framework is aimed at creating ultimate clinical efficiency, reducing cost and waste of materials, improving staff training, and elevating the patient experience.

You can get a free demo by clicking here.

Or request a free complete tub here.

The free Complete Tub kit promo is available to US residents only. Choose from 16 colors.