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Disposable Dental Supplies Dos and Donts

Disposable Dental Supplies Dos and Donts

Disposable Dental Supplies – Do’s and Don'ts

Dental disposables are those everyday staples used during most procedures and which no practice can go without.

These items are often single-use and include everything from bibs and towels to pouches and air water syringes.

Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help your practice with the purchasing, recycling and disposing of these products.


Buy in Bulk

Most dental disposables have no expiry date which lends well to bulk buying, providing you have the storage space.

Not only can bulk buying help save you money through multi-buy deals and saving on delivery fees, but it can also help reduce the associated transportation emissions.

Stock Recycled Disposables

There is a responsibility for all dental professionals to play their part in lowering the sector’s carbon footprint.

Switching to more environmentally friendly disposables, such as recycled towels, tissue and dressing roll, can help improve your practice’s green credentials.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Reduce waste and limit the number of disposables ending up in landfill by adopting a clear recycling policy that all staff can follow.

Many disposable supplies such as cups, bibs and plastic wrappers can and should be recycled, as should other everyday consumables made of aluminium, glass, plastic, paper or steel.

prophy angle

Replace Disposables with Autoclavables

Many dental supplies that are considered disposables have reusable, autoclavable alternatives available. This is true of impression trays, instrument trays, prophy angles and dappen dishes. Click on the products to see what's available.

When determining the cost-effectiveness of disposable versus autoclavable items, remember to consider not only the cost of the disposable item, but also the cost, time, and materials involved with cleaning and reprocessing the reusable item.


Forget about Patient Recycling

Clearly label recycling containers in accessible areas of your practice or encourage patients to recycle their own waste once home.

Introduce patients to schemes such as Phillips Dental Care Recycling programme, which allows patients to drop off their used dental care products when they visit your practice and help raise money for local charitable organisations.

Underestimate Potential Savings

Though dental disposables include some of the cheapest dental supplies you’ll stock, that’s doesn’t mean there are not savings to be made.

Make the most of free stock deals and clearance sales from trusted suppliers who will not charge for delivery. Savings can also be made by shopping own brand products over alternatives.

suction tips

Ignore Single Use

Though reusable and autoclavable options should be sourced where clinically appropriate, disposables marked as single use are labelled as such for good reason.

Single use items are designed to reduce the potential for patient-to-patient contamination. Many single use dental products are made of plastic or less expensive metals that are not heat tolerant and not designed or intended to be cleaned, submerged into disinfectant, or sterilized.

If a device does not have reprocessing instructions, it should be considered single use and disposed of after one use.

Throw Away Outdated Instruments

When an instrument is rendered old and unusable for your practice, it doesn’t mean it cannot be put to used elsewhere.

Charities, such as Dentaid, take old instruments and repurpose them for use in the UK and overseas to help provide safe, sustainable dental treatment in poor and remote communities. Though currently restricted due to COVID-19, donation forms and information on how to donate can be found here.

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