Tag Archives: dental supplies

  • Practice Tips #82: A Bit About Light Bulbs

    We are celebrating our 7 year anniversary with Practice Tips #82!

    Thank you so much for being with us!

    American Dental Accessories has been proud to offer technical content that can help your practice become more independent for the past seven years. We look forward to many more years of empowering you! Visit our archive to catch up on past issues!

    PT-82_Bulb-Collage LED Bulb (#20-902), Curing Light Bulb (#20-140), & Fiberoptic Bulb (#20-202)

    Bulbs may seem insignificant in the scheme of things but you realize how important they are when a bulb goes out and you have an operatory that is out of commission. Bulbs are used in your operating lights, for your fiber optic handpieces, in x-ray viewers, your curing lights, and a host of other dental equipment. Suddenly, they don’t seem so insignificant.

    Here are a few tips for your practice, so you will always be able to “see the light!"

    1. Always keep spare bulbs on hand:  We’ve said it before with so many items in the dental office and bulbs are no different. Keeping spare bulbs available will allow you to reduce downtime in the operatory and will save you money as you won’t need to call in an expensive technician to get the operatory up and running again.
    2. Never touch bulbs with your fingers:  This is especially true with high intensity bulbs, such as the overhead patient light or curing light bulbs. The oils in your fingers can create a “hot spot” on the bulb or even create a fracture in the bulb housing, which will cause the bulb to fail prematurely. We suggest changing your bulb when the light is cool and while wearing gloves or some kind of barrier when installing it. If you do touch the bulb, you can clean the surface with isopropyl or ethyl alcohol and a cotton swab.
    3. ANSI code numbers printed on bulbs are helpful :  ANSI (American National Standards Institute) coded light bulbs meet specific industry standards for output, shape of bulb, base type, and spread of light beam. In many cases, these codes are printed directly onto the bulb.
      PT-82_BULB-CODE Close-up of the ANSI code on a curing light bulb (#20-125)

      If you are having difficulty figuring out which bulb you need to replace, referring to these codes on the old bulb will assist you in finding the correct match for the bulb you need. American Dental includes the ANSI code in our catalog and in our online product descriptions. We can also cross-reference bulbs using the ANSI code.

    4. Wattage and voltage:  Be mindful of the bulb’s wattage and voltage as well. ANSI codes sometimes are just an indicator of the bulb type, rather than a specific bulb. For example, there are several models of the Belmont operatory lights which use bulbs that are similar in shape and size (designated H-3), but they all have different wattage and voltage.
    5. What is it being used with?  If all else fails, knowing the make and model of the equipment that needs a replacement bulb is always helpful. We can usually locate the correct bulb for you with this information as we have access to the make and model cross references as well.

    As always, feel free to contact us at 1-800-331-7993 with any questions regarding bulbs or you can even hit us up on our live chat system by clicking on the "Live Chat" icon at the top of the page and we will be more than happy to help.

  • Practice Tips #74: Infection Control (Part 1)

    Practice Tips this month is getting a little dressed up for Halloween (you will want to read until the end for an American Dental treat). We are going to tell you a few "tricks" to keep your vacuum facts straight.

    In the history of dental practices, infection control has had two major characters when it comes to chairside disposal: central vacuum canisters and debris baskets.

    The assistant’s instrumentation (particularly the high volume evacuator valve) is your first line of defense in infection control as it reduces contaminated aerosols which can spread blood borne pathogens which can contribute to cross-contamination.

    The high volume evacuator (HVE) and Saliva Ejector (SE) are often collectively referred to as the “assistant’s instrumentation” and will both connect to a collection canister or “chairside trap” as many refer to it.

    The collection canister serves two primary functions:
    One: Splits the main vacuum line from the central vacuum so you can have multiple vacuum valves in the operatory. Most canisters have 4 ports on the bottom, 2 for the HVE, one for the SE, and one to connect to the main line from the central vacuum. The different vacuum valves will reduce the expulsion of contaminated aerosols into the operatory, evacuate fluids from the oral cavity to improve visibility and allow bonding of various materials, and can even be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide to scavenge exhaled gases . In fact, the 2nd HVE port is often dedicated to a valve to use with your scavenger circuit.


    It is fairly common for the 2nd HVE port to be plugged with a port plug on new equipment. The port plug available from American Dental Accessories is different from most plugs in that it is tapered so it will fit inside the HVE port and outside the SE port. One plug can thus be used for either port. This plug is also made of a long lasting synthetic rubber rather than the thin plastic caps used by many equipment manufacturers.

    Two: Filter solids picked up by the HVE valve(s). As you can see in the photo below, the HVE ports poke up through the collection canister, so solid debris picked up will be caught in the basket. The SE normally only picks up liquids, so the SE port does not penetrate the basket.



    American Dental Accessories, Inc. carries 3 styles of collection canisters, referred to as types “A”, “B” and “C”:

    The Type “B” canister has a ½” outside diameter port to connect to the central vacuum line (the same size as the HVE ports). This is also the smallest canister with a basket (filter screen) that is only 1-7/8” in diameter. Because of the small size, the HVE ports are off center. This off-center design is unique to the type “B” canister. If using color-coded baskets, the baskets for a Type “B” canister are green.

    NOTE: HVE holes are off center due to the smaller size of the basket NOTE: HVE holes are off center due to the smaller size of the basket (1-7/8" diameter). Item #18-91.

    The type “A” and type “C” canisters both have a 5/8” port to connect to the line from the central vacuum (“drain port”) so they can offer superior suction. The overall size of the canister is bigger and they accept a basket that is 2-1/8” in diameter. The larger size allows placing the HVE ports along the diameter of the canister (and basket). There are other older designs that have this feature as well, however, so having ports along the diameter is not a clear indicator of which canister (or basket) one might have. If using color-coded baskets, the basket for the type “A” and “C” canisters is blue.

    NOTE: NOTE: HVE ports are centered due to the larger size of the basket (2-1/8" diameter). Item #18-90.

    The “A” and “C” canisters are distinguished from each other by the location of the drain port. The “A” canister has the 5/8” drain port on the bottom of the canister, the “C” canister has the port coming out of the side of the canister. The side drain allows the “C” canister to be used at the end of telescoping arms (#08-98 for example) or in other configurations that may not allow for a drain on the bottom. With a telescoping arm mount, the side port allows the drain line to feed through the arm aiding in asepsis and giving the unit clean aesthetics.

    NOTE: NOTE: There is a lack of a visible drain line in #08-98.

    When you look at vacuum canisters and debris baskets in such a way, they aren't quite the scary and characters for Halloween that we are used to. Just remember to watch out for the location of the HVE ports of the canister and the correlating baskets.

    We hope you liked our version of Halloween Practice Tips this month. We have a treat for you! By mentioning this blog post, you can buy one vacuum canister and receive a pkg. of 10 correlating baskets (#18-90 or #18-91) for free (call 800.331.7993 to order)! Check back next month for another installment.

  • Practice Tips #72: Motors, Attachments, and Handpieces; Oh My! Part 2: Attachments

    Part 2: Attachments for Slow-speed Handpieces

    There are 2 basic types of attachments used with slow-speed motors: nosecones and contra angles.

    A nosecone is a straight attachment that will accept a slow-speed bur or a shaft-driven angle (contra angle or prophy angle). Nosecones are unique and come with different gear ratios. The default is a 1:1 ratio – the nosecone will operate at the same speed as the motor. 4:1 is a common gear reduction, the nosecone will spin at ¼ the speed of the motor. Some nosecones (primarily those designed for use with electric motors) will also have speed increasing gears, so they will operate at a 1:5 gear ratio (for example), or 5 times the output speed of the motor.

    Nosecones are standardized so they all will accept the same diameter bur or shaft driven attachment. Nosecones also incorporate a pin of some sort to prevent rotation of any shaft driven attachment placed on the nosecone. All shaft driven attachments have a groove that slides over this pin.

    latching-grooveAs nosecones can accept a slow-speed bur, all you may need to perform a particular procedure may be a motor and nosecone (and bur, of course).

    The other type of attachment, a contra angle, will work with gear driven attachments only (most commonly some sort of head). They will not accept a bur, so further attachments are required. As the name implies, a contra angle provides an angle for the next attachment which can improve intra-oral access.

    Both Midwest and E-type contra angles accept the same type of gear driven heads. The heads incorporate a drive shaft with a gear at the end that seats into the contra angle meshing with the internal drive shaft causing the head to spin. The drive gear has pointed teeth making it easier to seat the two halves together. The head also has square “teeth” under a threaded collar that mesh with the square “teeth” on the outside of the contra angle. These teeth hold the head onto the contra angle and prevent the entire head from spinning (so only the drive shaft spins). It is these teeth that one must count to determine compatibility between a head and contra angle. Heads and contra angles come with either 12 or 14 locking teeth.

    attachment teethStar systems do not normally use a contra angle attachment. Instead, they use a straight attachment which accepts a Star-specific head. Star heads have an elbow incorporated at the end to provide the angle normally provided by a contra angle attachment as used by other systems.

    elbow attachmentAmerican Dental Accessories, Inc. also has an after-market contra angle that will work with a Star-type motor. This angle will allow you to use standard heads with your Star system (which can save money over the more costly Star-specific heads).

    Contra Angle (#25-509)

    Regardless of system, a contra angle (or angle attachment) will require a 3rd attachment for use with a rotary instrument and will not be a complete set-up for a given procedure (as a motor and nosecone alone can be).

    Finally, there are heads. As mentioned above, heads will have both drive teeth and attachment teeth (or drive teeth and a threaded elbow). The number of attachment teeth will determine compatibility with a particular contra angle. The head will accept the rotary instrument with which one will perform a given procedure. The most common head is a latch head which will accept a latch (or RA, for “Right Angle”) bur. RA burs have a groove at the end into which the latch of the head will secure holding the bur in. Some heads also accept standard friction grip burs, exactly as used in a high-speed handpiece.

    Other heads are designed only to accept prophy cups. Prophy cups can come with either a threaded “screw on” shaft or that simply “snap on” a knob designed for this purpose. Some are also attached to a standard latch-type shaft so they’ll work in a standard latch head.

    Snap-on, Screw-on, & Latch-type Prophy Brush & Cups

    The flexibility afforded by the various head configurations allows for a tremendous range of applications for a slow-speed set-up. This flexibility can allow for great value with a slow-speed system.