Tag Archives: dental industry

From time to time, AeraMax Professional taps into the expertise of dental industry professionals to share their viewpoints on issues facing the dental industry. This month, we talk with Mary Borg-Bartlett, the Co-founder and President of SafeLink Consulting Inc.

Since 1991, she has actively participated as a presenter and on-site instructor to audiences of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and dental laboratory technicians throughout the U.S.

Q: What, in your estimation, is the most pressing concern facing dental labs leading up to 2026?

A: There are several: keeping up with technology; hiring and retention of technicians; and dealing with the DSO structuring of dental practices are the primary concerns. All three of these issues are creating the need for dental lab owners to stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry and adapting their business model to ensure they can compete in this type of market. 

From the perspective of regulations, I’d say staying educated on which regulations apply to their dental lab as they change their business model. These regulations range from OSHA, whose concern is employee health and safety to the FDA, whose concern is quality assurance.  Introducing new technology into the dental lab can trigger additional regulatory requirements both from the OSHA and FDA perspectives.

Q: We think installing AeraMax Professional air purifiers can boost the health of dental lab employees. What other ways can dental labs ensure the health of employees in the future

A: As materials and equipment change, lab owners must understand the hazards associated with them. The hazards can range from air quality to use of hazardous materials. The lab owner can improve safety and attempt to ensure the safety of their employees by developing a safety program that is applicable to their work environment.

The first step is to make a commitment by providing adequate resources for those responsible for the development of this program. A Safety Coordinator should be appointed who either has the education in health and safety or has the time to become educated on health and safety. Just appointing someone to that position is not enough. The Safety Coordinator needs the education about how to identify hazards and then make recommendations to the owner for controlling the hazards. Without proper education, this is impossible.

Q; What types of technologies do you see emerging in the dental lab industry?

A: It appears that the use of digital and electronic functions will continue to increase in dentistry.  Digital impressions can eliminate some of the infection control issues that dental labs have to deal with when they receive regular impressions from their dental clients. Most labs are milling and have CAD/CAM departments, but the use of 3D printing appears to be increasing…3D printers are becoming more affordable and the technology is being applied to more and more processes.

This technology seems to be not only decreasing errors but improving infection control issues in the dental lab. The technology, however, brings about the potential of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among dental workers, since the workstations are more like computer stations. So, providing ergonomic workspaces and furnishings is imperative to preventing MSDs.

Dental lab owners also need to realize that workers’ compensation premiums increase significantly due to work-related MSDs. MSDs are preventable but only if the employer provides ergonomically designed workstations and furnishings…plus trains employees on proper use of these items. Enforcement of the safety rules is always a challenge to business owners but necessary to prevent injuries—MSDs are at the forefront of work-related injuries in the dental lab.

Q; With an increasingly graying population, there’ll be more need for dental appliances in the coming years. How can dental labs gear up for additional workload?

A: Dental labs are already experiencing problems in hiring and retaining experienced denture technicians. Those technicians are also a part of that graying population, so they are usually working toward retirement. In fact, so many dental lab schools have closed over the past ten years that many of our clients have begun their own training program.

Of course, technology may help [to lessen the additional workload], but as of now, I haven’t heard very many positive comments about printed dentures. Surely though, the developers and manufacturers of this equipment will be able to fill this need soon. Since denture technicians are becoming scarce, it looks like it will take technology to meet production needs. 

Q: What are the ramifications of this increased workload on: The dental lab environment? The workers? Management?

A: From my experience in consulting with dental lab owners, production has always been the top priority. However, it can affect worker safety, morale and the quality of the product.  From the safety standpoint, a lack of time to organize work areas and clean work areas results in clutter which can contribute to injuries. Increased workload can also create stress, which is unhealthy in any environment. Burnout can occur, which can result in poor morale and ultimately the loss of employees. It’s always disheartening to a business owner to invest money and time in the training of employees only to see them move on to another job. Younger people today seem to have the balance between their personal life and their work life figured out better than those of us who grew up in a different era. Perhaps that’s why it’s not as common today to see the younger generation taking over the Mom and Dad’s dental laboratory business. They saw how hard the parents worked and don’t see that in their own careers. 

The quality of the product can also suffer when the increased workload cannot be managed properly. Shortcuts may be taken and errors can occur. Internal reworks and external remakes can increase. Both of these cut into the bottom line…not to mention create poor customer relations. Dental clients want consistency, on time delivery and work done right the first time.  Managing increased workload can be detrimental to the dental lab owner who hasn’t planned how to handle this increase.

In most cases it’s best not to go after more business if it hasn’t been planned for and that can include having enough trained technicians, adequate equipment, materials and space to take on the new business. It’s a juggling act—but can be dealt with when proper planning takes place.

Cleanliness is one of the critical points for parents searching for the perfect daycare. A combination of surface cleaning and handwashing are standard protocol for any daycare center. Yet, the added benefit of cleaning the air is usually overlooked

Why Clean Air Matters for Daycare

Children are more susceptible to the effects of contaminated air because they breathe in more oxygen relative to their body weight than adults. This sensitivity makes younger children more likely to get a respiratory illness from germs, allergens and other airborne pollutants.

In a shared space like daycare centers, especially during cold and flu season, airborne cold and flu germs pass from child to child more quickly. Flu viruses can survive in the air for several hours and one sneeze from a child can spray 3000 infectious droplets into a play area.

Offering Enhanced Germ Protection

Along with maintaining robust policies of surface sanitation and personal hygiene for staff, a day care manager that wants to stand apart as a champion of clean environment learning will also adopt commercial air purifier solutions.

AeraMax air purifiers feature a four-stage filtration system designed for facilities like daycare centers. Using this hospital-grade air purification system featuring HEPA filters, AeraMax removes up to 99.97% of airborne allergies, viruses and germs. AeraMax is also H1N1 certified. This plus means daycare owners can provide a “above and beyond” service to parents by offering a clean air childcare center that reduces the risk of illness during cold and flu season.

AeraMax air purifiers also remove airborne dust and mold particles that may cause reactions in children with asthma or allergies.  Twenty percent of children may experience some immune-based reaction to airborne allergens such as pollen or dust.2  Parents with children suffering from these ailments will appreciate the added value of an AeraMax protected daycare.

Odor-Free Facility Appeal

While sanitation is always a top priority, most daycare center still struggle with odors, especially those that care for newborns and toddlers. AeraMax air purifiers use carbon filters to remove odors, which can completely change the atmosphere in diaper changing areas. When parents are comparing day care centers, they will definitely notice the AeraMax difference in the air.

Day Care Centers Using the AeraMax Solution

The Tiny Sprouts Early Childhood Center in Rutherford, New Jersey offers a diverse range of childcare from infants and toddlers to PreK4. With four classrooms providing care for up to 50-60 children a day, odors from diapers and the prevalence of airborne germs during cold and flu season was a concern to owner and director Emily Sousa.

Tiny Sprouts installed 5 AeraMax Professional Air Purifiers with PureView Technology and began to notice the difference in air quality. Emily Sousa indicates that parents had come from other schools and actually switched their kids to Tiny Sprouts specifically because they have the AeraMax Professional machines purifying the air. “Parents were really excited to see we installed AeraMax Professional machines in our facility. We were able to solve on-going problems with odors and germs.“ Tiny Sprouts is just one of many daycare centers adding air care as a facility benefit: See the YMCA Daycare Video.

Taking the Next Steps for Improving Daycare Air Quality

Get a free indoor air consultation and see if how AeraMax air protection can improve your facility. Learn More.

  1. MIT News:In the cloud: How coughs and sneezes float farther than you think
  2. Healthland Time.Location, Location: Being Born in the U.S. Puts Kids at Higher Risk of Allergies