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The American Dental Association has issued a 2012 decree stating that American dentists can now expect a call for equipment inspection twice a year. Conveniently located to be at the start and at the finish of daylight savings time, the decree is first and foremost a safety regulation.

Dentists do not check their equipment often enough, according to Dr Michael D. Edwards, who is the spokesperson for this new campaign and chair of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure Committee on Anesthesiology and CDEL’s Ad Hoc Committee on a Safety Awareness Campaign. Most of these items have no expiry date, there is no set time to get a new hand device, so the way that many dentists realize that the device is no longer functional is when they want to work with it and it will not work. This can cause disruption of working schedules, which are difficult enough with dentists as it is, not to mention that money and time can be lost in the process, and patients can lose faith in their dentist if they are delayed or God forbid damaged by faulty equipment. And as dentists are aware, once faith has been lost it is neigh impossible to restore.

To avoid such uncomfortable situations and prod dentists to adequately check all of their equipment is the aim of this new decree. Dr Edwards says: “Therefore, it may go unnoticed until a failure occurs. Instead of going through breakdowns in practice that cost dollars and time, the ADA Safety Awareness Campaign will give dentists an opportunity to inspect and take action on needed items that may not be routinely checked during maintenance.”

The question is, will the EU and the UK follow suit? Will standards shift so that these equipment inspection checks become regular? One can only guess, but it seems that no one in the European media is looking at this possibility. Perhaps the trend will catch on, after all, the decree does sound like a good idea. Only time will tell.

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