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PPR forum highlights amalgam separators

IMAGE: Dr. Fink
Dr. Fink: One of the forum participants. Photos by EZ Event Photography
Las Vegas—The doctors’ questions about amalgam separators were not why do I have to do this but how do I do this, said Dr. James Westman, the self-styled “dentist answer man” fielding questions at the ADA Professional Product Review’s Product Forum Oct. 10-12 during Annual Session.

“My hope is that even though the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is about to form regulations for all the dentists nationwide that ADA has the opportunity to educate our members and give them the tools to satisfy the demands of the regulators by taking ownership of the issue rather than having the issue forced on them,” Dr. Westman said.

IMAGE: Dr. Holmberg
Dr. Holmberg: Looking for a new separator.
“I like how the ADA has taken steps to publish information to help dentists discern product information that is free of manufacturers’ bias,” said Dr. Steven Fink as he viewed separators on display at the Annual Session forum.

IMAGE: Dr. Westman
Answer man: Dr. James Westman helps with the amalgam separators evaluation in the ADA Welcome Center area.
The PPR forum highlighted features of nine different amalgam separators, offered practical advice on product selection and covered best management practices for handling amalgam waste. Forum attendees viewed a short video presentation and listened on headsets to descriptions of each separator on display. Each participant received one continuing education credit.

Dr. Jeffrey Holmberg came to the forum looking for something new for his practice. “I have one of the other units and I’m frustrated with it,” he said. “It’s plugging up with mostly prophy paste. It’s effective but the canister I’m filling up every three months is not mercury so I’m looking to see what else is available.”

The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs expects to publish a Professional Product Review on amalgam separators next spring. The EPA has announced plans to initiate an effluent guideline rulemaking procedure to reduce mercury waste from dental facilities.