Life and death in demanding environments – David Gibson

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  Posted by: Dental Design      1st March 2018

David Gibson, Marketing Manager for Eschmann, considers the impact of essential equipment both in the race to the South Pole and the dental practice.


The race by some of the world’s leading explorers to reach the starkest, most southernmost point of the earth first is one many of us know well. It was a conquest that eluded even the most respectable discoverers of the time, including Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Henry Shackleton, until finally on 14 December 1911 an expedition led by Roald Amundsen beat the odds to claim victory. While a momentous event for humankind, it was a bittersweet outcome for many Brits, with the Antarctic claiming the lives of the entire Terra Nova expedition. Having arrived at the South Pole just four weeks after Amundsen, Scott and the rest of his team eventually lost their battle with the elements on their return journey home.


What’s saddest of all, is that if Scott’s written instructions to send sledges out to meet them on their way back with supplies had been followed by the team at base camp, the men may not have perished. Alas, they didn’t have the provisions they needed to survive in the Antarctic’s harsh environment, and we are left wondering what could have been.


If Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere, who completed Scott’s ill-fated mission in 2014, are anything to go by, we could probably assume that the Terra Nova team would have returned from the inhospitable landscape had they had the right supplies. By comparison, the adventurous duo were perfectly kitted out for their quest, which goes to show that having the right equipment can be the difference between success and failure and life and death in demanding environments.


This is certainly the case in the dental practice, where having quality equipment is absolutely essential to meeting the demands of such a challenging environment. To guarantee everyone’s safety and ensure compliance standards are met, you need equipment that you can trust to perform day in, day out. Here’s what should be included in your practice survival kit.


Washer disinfector: For optimal results during the cleaning and disinfection process you need to utilise the most effective equipment. Using the best worked for modern explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere in their mammoth journey to the South Pole and it could work for you. So while manual and ultrasonic cleaning are accepted methods, only an automated thermal washer-disinfector that offers reproducible and validated cleaning performance will achieve optimal removal of proteins, contaminants and debris. It will also help to save time and money if you think that it could take you an hour or more each day to manually clean instruments. From a safety perspective, the use of a washer disinfector in place of manual cleaning can help to minimise needle stick injuries.


Steriliser: The steriliser that you choose is absolutely essential to your infection control outcomes. In the same way that only purposefully designed clothing, goggles/mask and sledges would do during an expedition to the Antarctic, only autoclaves that have been designed to work in the toughest of environments will guarantee ultimate safety and compliance. There are two types of steam sterilisers to choose from – one uses passive air removal and the other active air removal. Type B vacuum sterilisers use active air removal to safely and effectively sterilise wrapped instruments as well as lumen devices and handpieces. To ensure your equipment is suited to your needs and you’re fully protected against any potential cross-infection, consult a specialist manufacturer who will be able to advise you on what you need.


The right support: The unfortunate Terra Nova expedition team were unlucky not to have the support they needed, but in dentistry there’s plenty of help available alongside top of the range equipment. Finding the right company that offers lifetime breakdown warranty, as well as validation, certification and complimentary training will make all the difference. Eschmann, along with its reliable Little Sister range of decontamination equipment that has been specially designed to work in the most demanding of environments offers fully comprehensive, all-inclusive protection as part of its Care&Cover from as little as £8.50 a month. When used together, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to deal with whatever is thrown your way.


The inhospitable landscape got the better of Scott and his men in their race to the South Pole, but with the right equipment and support you can achieve success in the dental practice.


For more information on the highly effective and affordable range of decontamination equipment and products from EschmannDirect, please visit or call 01903 753322

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