2 Important Things Dentists Forget to Ask Their Dental Handpiece Supplier

When a salesperson from a dental handpiece supplier comes to your office, you probably have a list of questions in mind. What head sizes are compatible with the device? What are the ergonomic benefits? Does it include fibre-optics?

But when was the last time you sat down with your dental handpiece supplier and had a nice chat about regulatory framework?

Don’t worry if the answer is, “never.” You’re busy. And it’s not exactly stimulating conversation, after all.

However, it is an important thing to ask when it comes to choosing a dental handpiece supplier you trust. A representative from a competent supplier should be able to answer these questions, or at least tell you where you need to go to find out.

A gap in this knowledge could be a red flag.

1. Who regulates dental handpieces in Canada?

Believe it or not, Health Canada considers dental instruments, including dental handpieces, to be medical devices. That brings them under the scope of the government’s Medical Device Regulations, which sets standards for the use and sale of such devices in Canada.

Why does this matter? It means that the people who use, purchase, and sell dental instruments are expected to have a strong understanding of those requirements. You should know this. Your supplier should know this. And if they don’t, that’s not a good sign.

2. Does your company have a medical device licence?

One of the important points regarding dental instruments in the aforementioned legislation is that anyone who imports or sells a dental handpiece in Canada must hold a medical device licence. The government keeps track of who’s licensed through the Medical Devices Active Licence Listing (MDALL).

Any dental handpiece supplier who offers to sell to you must have one of these licences. If you ask about this, and the sales person doesn’t know what you’re talking about, you have a right to be concerned about whether this supplier is one you can count on.

This is not usually a concern with a supplier who is well-established in Canada. That’s the benefit of sourcing dental supplies through Sable or another reputable company. The problem usually comes up when you’re dealing with a newcomer to the market, often someone offering supplies at a significant discount from the competitors.

Buying from an unlicensed supplier could get you in hot water with Health Canada. So, be aware! Ask these two questions the next time you’re scoping out an offer from a new supplier instead of buying dental supplies through someone like Sable.

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