Whether you’re a dentist or a dental technician, you’ll appreciate the importance of keeping your dental equipment in tip top working order.
We all know the frustrations and stress involved with a piece of kit that’s not functioning. At best it gives you a few anxious moments whilst you reboot or restart and at worst it results in cancelled patient procedures or zero lab output.
In this blog post, we’ll give you some great tips on finding a dental service provider who knows their stuff when it comes to dental chairs or digital imaging equipment or laboratory apparatus, but also who takes the time and trouble to get to know you, your staff and your practice or lab.
Should be simple, right? Well, not always, apparently!
We do, unfortunately, hear of instances where this isn’t the case, where dental practices or laboratories don’t receive the service they and their patients deserve. So, let’s take a look at how you can make sure you don’t find yourself in that unfortunate category…
Tip No: 1 – What is dental servicing?
Have you ever stopped to really consider what dental equipment servicing is?
It’s all about maximising ‘uptime’ ie. the amount of time the equipment is ready and available for use and is actually a whole lot more than a frantic call to your dental equipment supplier when something’s not working correctly!
Sure, that’s part of it, but it’s bigger than that. As well as providing a rapid response breakdown service when things go wrong, your dental service provider should also provide as many of the following options, in order to maximise equipment uptime, or minimise downtime – whichever way you prefer to look at it:
· Preventative Maintenance – just like your car, your dental equipment requires regular preventative maintenance to ensure any consumable parts like filters are changed regularly before they become blocked and cause a bigger issue. Key components may need changing at set intervals to keep everything in working order. This should all be part of any preventative maintenance work carried out by your provider.
· Telephone support & remote diagnostics – not all service blips require an engineer to jump in a van and come to you. Find yourself a service supplier who provides technical support over the phone and can talk you through getting back up and running. Some equipment can also be interrogated by a service engineer connecting to it remotely. This not only assists the technical support team in their assessment of whether an engineer needs to attend site, it will also give them an insight into what the problem may be beforehand and ensure they have the right replacement parts with them.
· Calibration – Many pieces of dental equipment for the surgery or laboratory also require periodic calibration to ensure they’re providing accurate results and adhering to industry standards, so it’s really important to have a team on board who can perform the calibration and produce the necessary paperwork and certifications to any relevant regulations.
· Spare Parts – a decent service supplier will invest in a locally held stock of top moving spare parts, easily accessible to both customers and service engineers alike. This may include preventative maintenance service kits, as well as replacement key components which minimises downtime when a fault occurs.
· Workshop – both surgeries and dental laboratories also have smaller equipment, often handheld or bench top, which don’t require an engineer to attend on-site in the event of a malfunction.
Does your service provider have their own local workshop where repairs of these items can take place?
This will save you valuable time and money – you don’t want to have to wait whilst your key bit of kit is returned to the manufacturer to be mended. It’s also worth enquiring as to whether the supplier offers a swap out or loan service, which will mean no interference to your busy work schedule.
· Upgrades – the working lifetime or functionality of equipment can often be extended or enhanced by performing an upgrade. This may be carried out remotely in the case of a software upgrade or require a site visit to fit new and improved components. Either way, make sure the engineer has been trained on the upgrade they are performing and the equipment is fully tested and, if required, recalibrated, before being put back into service.
· Customer Training – Most dental equipment suppliers will provide first line training when your kit is first installed and handed over to you. But that’s only half the story. Find a service supplier who will provide refresher training for your team when you need it and also for new members of staff as your team evolves. And, if they’ll provide some first line technical training too, you’ll improve your uptime and the number of calls you’ll need to make for just a small niggling problem, so you’ll both win!
Tip No: 2 – How often should dental equipment be serviced?
Always the million dollar question.
And the answer is…..it depends!
It depends on the equipment itself and it may depend on the age of the equipment.
Regular preventative maintenance will maximise the working life and operational efficiency of your kit, saving you time and money in the long run.
But there’s a more serious compliance issue to consider too, as, in order to comply with your CQC requirements, you should always ensure that every piece of equipment is maintained regularly and in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations by factory-trained engineers.
Which leads us on to…
Tip No: 3 – How do I know the engineer knows their stuff?
This is perhaps one of the most important considerations.
Much of the equipment in your lab or dental surgery will be classed as a medical device, which brings a whole new level of seriousness to anybody delving inside and changing components or settings.
Make sure the engineer is factory trained by the appropriate manufacturer. A good service provider will have up to date training records for their engineers and won’t mind sharing them with you.
It sounds simple enough, but having a poorly trained engineer tackle a service task for which they’re not properly trained, can have a devastating impact on your hard earned investment and let’s face it, your livelihood.
Tip No: 4 – Should I get a service contract?
Taking out a service contract will give you visibility of your on-going maintenance costs. Often service providers will prioritise customers who have a contract in place and may even give them discounts on other services, such as spare parts, so it’s a good conversation to have with your potential servicing partner.
Having a service contract in place should also mean that your equipment receives planned maintenance in line with its manufacturer’s recommendations, which will help maintain it in good working order and avoid any unnecessary downtime.
Tip No: 5 – How much should I pay?
As with most things in life, there’s an element of ‘you get what you pay for’ with dental service.
Of course, there are those who offer cheap service. They may be fine, but then again…
Our advice is to always go to a reputable, recommended service provider, with wide ranging experience, who’ll help you keep the show on the road. Talk to your peers, talk to neighbouring practices or labs, talk to others in the industry.
It may mean you don’t choose the cheapest service option, but we’re willing to bet it’ll be money well spent.
At Blueprint Dental, we are trusted and recommended by dentists all over the UK. We know how to make dental practices look great and function perfectly
Why dental professionals recommend Blueprint Dental
There are actually a variety of reasons, which when considered collectively have us standing head and shoulders above the rest:
Reason No: 1 – Our engineers know their stuff
Our engineers are factory trained when they first join us and also receive regular refreshes to their training for new equipment and upgrades.
The servicing of Dentsply Sirona equipment is a good example here.
We are one of the only service providers in the UK with experienced, factory trained engineers for their treatment centers, CEREC and digital imaging ranges.
But it’s not limited to Dentsply Sirona. The Blueprint Dental Service team are also factory trained on many of the world’s other leading global dental brands, such as (but not limited to!) Planmeca, Medit and Melag.
And let’s not forget the personal side of having an engineer visit you. We’re all human and, much like your patients like to see the same dentist or hygienist when they visit your practice, we appreciate that you don’t want to see a different engineer every time you interact with our service team.
So, as well as being a really nice bunch, we’ll always try and provide some continuity, so you get the chance to build up a great working relationship with an engineer or small number of engineers.
Reason No: 2 – We offer the whole range of service activities
Just like we listed earlier in the article, we offer all those service elements which bind together to collectively furnish you with the best possible uptime for your equipment.
Our service team can provide you with everything from preventative maintenance to calibration services to remote diagnostics.
We have a small service workshop, but big enough to offer local repair facilities for smaller benchtop kit and we’ll train your team from the start and as they evolve and grow with time.
Reason No: 3 – We’re affordable
We won’t claim to be the cheapest, but we do know that we provide the highest quality of workmanship at an affordable price.
We understand dentistry, whether your own particular speciality is in dental surgery or the dental laboratory world, and we’ll provide you with high quality service at a reasonable price, that’ll keep both your patients and cash flowing through your business.
Reason No: 4 – We’ll be there!
We understand the level of panic that sets in when something goes wrong and our service team will provide first line maintenance over the phone, if necessary, or get an engineer dispatched to you without delay if you need someone to come out and fix the problem.
But our work ethic runs much deeper than that.
We’ll look after you from day one. Our service team even get involved whilst you’re still planning your project, so we can advise you of what the on-going service commitments are likely to be before you sign on any dotted lines.
And, what’s more, with our fabulous links to leading dental finance providers Vector Finance, we can even factor your service plan into your lease payments
Reason No: 5 – We’re the #MostRecommended
We don’t use that hashtag lightly or flippantly.
Headed up by Technical Director, David Brown, our service team really does have an awesome reputation for all the right reasons. David has been in the dental business for over 20 years and is widely recognised as one of the most experienced and talented dental engineers in the UK, if not even further afield.
And his work ethic and experience is something which has become an integral part of the Blueprint Service ethos. We really do live and breathe dentistry every day and believe that ‘We are what we service’. Our engineers are passionate about their roles, offer excellent technical advice and all round decent, old fashioned first-rate customer service.
Put all these together and we know that using Blueprint Dental will save you time and money, not to mention offering you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re in safe hands.
To find out more, please contact us using the form below or call our service team on 0800 228 9828.