Dentistry, News

Thinking of the environment

Imagine a future in which infection control practices and protecting the environment are not in conflict.

A future where clean meets green.

That future has arrived, and Westside Resources is one of the only companies producing a disposable air/water syringe tip that is environmentally compatible.

Dental professionals are often faced with a dilemma: using disposable instruments is safer for patients, but disposables are plastic, which contribute to pollution and add to the landfill waste stream.

'All of us need to take responsibility for the health of patients and the environment,' said Donovan Berkely, CEO of Westside Resources.

'We have spent several years researching and looking for manufacturers who can create a product that is natural, yet can provide the same performance quality as plastic versions.

'We finally found it last year.

'Now, dentists can achieve both goals of improving patient safety and protecting our environment.'

For years, the dental industry and major health agencies throughout north America and Europe have been strongly urging dentists to use disposable, single-use products whenever possible, to prevent doctor-to-patient and patient-to-patient transmission of potentially dangerous biofilm and such diseases as HIV and Hepatitis C.

Sterilisation of some dental devices, particularly the air/water syringe tip, can be extremely difficult because of the micro-lumens, or tiny channels that deliver the air and water.

Studies completed as recently as 2012 by The Dental Advisor in the United States, and 2014 by the School of Dentistry of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, revealed alarming results.

In both studies, autoclavable tips were sterilised through the normal procedures of ultrasonic cleaning followed by steam autoclaving.

The Dental Advisor study, done at an independent lab, concluded that more than 10% of the tips tested still had microbial contamination.

The New Zealand study was even more disturbing: of 68 syringe tips tested, 40% were found to be harboring different kinds of bacteria after sterilisation in an autoclave.

And the level of contamination did not significantly decrease, regardless of the number of additional sterilisation cycles the tips were put through.

These most recent studies give credence to many other studies that were done from the late 1990s through the early 2000s.

Yet many dentists are reluctant to switch to disposables, citing their concern for the environment, because disposables are made of plastic, which can take decades, if not centuries to biodegrade.

Westside Resources has been searching for non-plastic materials to produce air/water syringe tips for more than three years.

A manufacturer of non-petroleum based resins was found in early 2013, and testing began immediately, forming these vegetable-starch resins into air/water syringe tips.

Once the formulation was perfected, testing began on the tips, and the results were even better than expected — virtually no difference in reliability and performance between the plastic Crystal Tips and the compostable resin-based new tip.

Westside Resources launched two new tips in November, 2013. Natures Tip is designed after Crystal Tips, which fit into standard US made syringes such as Adec and DCI, without a special adapter.

Biofree Tips are designed to fit into standard Sani-Tip adapters to give those dentists an environmental solution.

Both versions have been field tested over the past six months, with impressive results.

For more information, please contact Jim Colonna at Westside Resources.

Phone: 001 760-851-4002.

Email: jim@wwitinc.com.

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