How to choose compressors for your dentists

Whatever compressor system you use, it is extremely important to carry out proper maintenance on a regular basis. If you don’t maintain your air compressor thoroughly, you will make it less reliable and less effective. It is essential that you change filters at least annually and more frequently if recommended by the manufacturer.

When you conform to the regulations, you are not only protecting your patients and your practice, but you will ensure the longer life of your equipment.

Is your air quality high enough?

Another important safety feature required by HTM 2022 is that dental compressors systems must include a dryer. This must remove moisture to a dewpoint of at least -20 ºC . Our units exceed this. They achieve a -40°C dew point and, as bacteria cannot grow below -26°C, we remove another source of contamination (in conjunction with the use of a sterile filter). Most dental air compressor dryers are either desiccant or membrane. Both types use air to purge the saturated desiccant material or membranes which reduces the air available chair side. A membrane dryer will purge continuously to ensure the default dew point is achieved. This is effectively like having a permanent leak that reduces the amount of air available from the system. Desiccant dryers will purge once the compressor switches off, in essence back flushing the desiccant column with clean dry air to purge any water. Typically this process takes around a minute, which is why we need to respect the duty cycle. If the machine doesn’t stop, we don’t back flush, we don’t remove the water and we don’t achieve that all-important -40°C dew point!

Better quality air compressors are better for your practice

Like all the equipment you choose for your dental surgery, you will find that air compressors vary in price and quality. Your experience has probably shown that good quality equipment pays for itself. In the long run, a better quality compressor will be more reliable. The last thing you want is to be wondering if your compressed air supply will hold out while you finish a procedure on a patient. You will also find a good quality air compressor will last longer, need fewer repairs and have lower service costs. Is it really worth the extra costs and the worry of a lower quality compressor?

The ABAC Air Compressor Range for Dentists
You can be confident that all our compressors for dental surgeries operating within the NHS Sector meet or exceed all the requirements set out in HTM 2022.

How many dentists or technicians work in your practice at the same time?
Approximately how many people will be using air simultaneously?

As a rule of thumb, each dental chair needs approximately 50 l/min or 2 cfm. The capacity of a compressor is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm) or litres per minute (l/min) so a surgery with 3 dentists should allow 3 x 50 l/m or 3 x 2 cfm.

Want to get technical?

When you look at the descriptions of our Dental Compressors, click the “additional information” tab to find these technical details. You also need to check the duty cycle of a compressor. This tells you how much usable amount of working time your compressor will give each hour. Some dental compressor suppliers only tell you how many chairs a compressor will support but this doesn’t give you the full picture. Two compressors might have the same capacity but they might not have the same duty cycle. This is really important because if you demand more air from your compressor than it was designed to deliver, it will become less reliable, cost more to run (replacement parts) and delay treatments for your patients.

Installing and Maintaining Your Air Compressor
If you don’t have a reliable air compressor in your dental surgery, it will cause you a serious headache. No one wants to tell patients that they will have to wait for their next procedure, especially if they are in pain. ABAC air compressors have an outstanding reputation for reliability and sensible running and maintenance costs.

For friendly, helpful, expert advice, contact our expert team during office hours. Our LiveChat is run by our in-house sales team who know our product range and understand our customers. They will be pleased to help you choose.

The Technical Bit
The product literature might state pump displacement but this does not tell you true capacity. The capacity of your air compressor is a combination of actual volume output, duty cycle, and tank size. Look out for the Free Air Delivery (FAD) figure, which is the figure showing how much air the compressor will actually deliver, but this still doesn’t take into account the duty cycle.

Capacity and reliability are related because many air compressors are designed with a limited “duty cycle”. The duty cycle is the percentage of time a compressor can run without cooling off. For example, some dental compressors have a 30% duty cycle. This does not mean it can run three hours straight in a 10-hour day, but more like 2 minutes running followed by four minutes stopped and 10 starts in an hour.

The key point is that two air compressors may have the same cfm (cubic foot per minute) but you will reduce the service life of the one with the lower duty cycle if you run it as much as one with a higher duty cycle. Duty cycle varies widely among compressors, so if you are not sure – ask our LiveChat team!

Where will you put your air compressor?

Before you buy an air compressor you should decide whereabouts in your surgery you will put it. You must make sure there is enough ventilation for the compressor not to overheat. If it is close to the point of use, most dentists choose a silenced or low noise air compressor. This will be far more pleasant for your patients and staff.