I have compiled a list of inexpensive equipment that might be helpful to other dentists looking for ways not to be robbed by Henry Schein or Patterson. All of the below Items I have purchased and use on a daily basis. My general philosophy is that when choosing equipment/instruments/consumables/dental lab/restorative materials, you should first categorize your intended purchase within the hierarchy of how mission critical it is.
Mission = Provide top quality restorative dentistry with relative ease and comfort.
For example: I place one of the most expensive composites, 3M ESPE Filtek Supreme Ultra with a $2.18 locking plier and Compo-Dot or an $8.99 plastic instrument. What matters to the patient is the quality of the restoration not whether I used a no-name instrument or a $40 one from Hu-Friedy. Yes the Hu-Friedy instrument is sexier, but will it make me produce more money? By insisting on buying only the Hu-Freidy instruments am I limiting the number a restorative set-ups I have thereby creating an efficiency bottleneck in sterilization?
Whereas the price/quality relationship is readily apparent in restorative instruments (though the difference is not mission critical), on items like curing lights and intraoral cameras I have found my $54.30 curing lights to be every bit as good as a $1379 Demetron Demi Plus LED. I had the Kerr Rep. at my office and we did a side by side comparison. My light was putting out 1500mW/cm² and his was at 1100mW/cm². They both cured a 4mm layer of composite in 10 sec. I asked him how one battery, an LED bulb and hunk of glass could be so expensive. That poor man had no reply. No worries when your mitt gripped assistant drops it on the floor. Also buy one for every operatory so you’re not moving equipment from room to room. Think of all the complex consumer electronics you can buy for under 200 bucks. Why are dental electronics so expensive? My $88.88 intraoral camera does what it needs to do which is to inspire patents to get the dentistry they need. Is it the best camera? Does it need to be?
When it comes to handpieces, I must admit that I use Kavo electric high speeds for almost every procedure and I love them. The inexpensive air driven high speeds I have are for backup. They are non-optic and have a single water port. That said, I did a crown cutting half the prep with the Kavo and half with the econo handpiece and it kept up just fine and sprayed copious amounts of water. If you have a loupe light you don’t really need a fiber optic handpiece.
The slow speed I have listed is a basic NSK ex-203 with straight and contra angle attachments. The same set-up bought from a US supplier runs from $350-600. I paid $79.80 and have been using this handpiece for almost 1 year and have had no problems.
I found all of the listed sources by perching myself in front of a computer for several hours and researching. I bought items, tested them myself and put them into use. I encourage everyone to do the same.
$79.90 – Loupe Light – Ebay ID: super-medical-shop
$54.30 – Wireless LED Curing Light Lamp D2 – Ebay ID: dentalskysea2008
$88.88 – Promed 740 intraoral camera – Ebay ID: dentequip
$79.80 – NSK EX203 slow speed handpiece – Ebay ID: qinqinxiaoya
$46.34 – High fast Speed Handpiece Push Button – Ebay ID: bestgetbetter369
Restorative Set up:
$8.99 – Plugger plastic-filling instrument 4# – Ebay ID: emte6
$1.20 – College Cotton Pliers – Ebay ID: suhailsalim
$2.18 – College Locking Pliers – Ebay ID: suhailsalim
$3.24 – ARTICULATING PAPER FORCEP – Ebay ID: suhailsalim
$3.33 – Ball Burnisher – Ebay ID: suhailsalim
$1.34 – Explorer German SS – Ebay ID: alsayed8141967
$0.95×2 – Mirror x2 – Ebay ID: suhailsalim
$5.25 – Plasdent Instrument Box – www.amerdental.com
$27.43 – Total cost for one restorative instrument set up with cassette
Things that make restorative dentistry easier:
$17.29 – E-Prop – Henry Schein
$21.99 – Compo-Dots small 100 per pack – Henry Schein
$37.50 – Garrison 3D sectional matrix clamp – Garrison