Compressed Air: Dental Surgeons – Are You Aware?

A Health Technical Memorandum, known as HTM 2022, sets high standards for the quality of clinical air in Health Authority premises. Private practices are not required to conform, but it is assumed that proficient Dentists would take on board and implement recommendations as set out in HTM 2022 so that best practice is promoted.

When a compressor is delivering adequate air, it is all too easy to be complacent and compromise clinical performance. Other high-profile items may take priority over regular air checking and routine maintenance which, in turn, could increase risks of harming a patient.

Usually, an oil-dependent compressor is at the centre of the system surgeries are using to service their compressed air requirements. Without knowing, over time, the pressure chamber can be penetrated by up to 1% of oil. Reacting with the moisture in the air, an emulsion is created resulting in an ideal breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. Unless a specialist engineer is adhering to a fastidious maintenance programme, this bacteria has the ability to make its way into a patient’s mouth causing a range of infections from gastro-enteritis to legionnaire’s disease. Thankfully, these risks are now largely eradicated by the latest generation of compressors which are no longer oil-dependent.

New compressor technology, coupled with the HTM2022 legalities, makes now an ideal time for Dentists to review their compressed air system and associated dryers/filters/pipework to consider their current and future requirements for this essential clinical resource.

As your local compressed air specialist, Airmech can assist with any compressed air related questions or advice. We can examine, assess and deliver a comprehensive report on the quality of the air being produced. We can then advise on the next preeminent steps, whether it be simple monitoring/maintenance or a new compressor from our dental range.

Contact Airmech:

Phone: 02476 345658


Install an oil-water separator – with low maintenance costs, this will ensure that condensate is treated correctly. Following treatment, the condensate is 99% water of which you can dispose of legally down the foul sewer drain.

Proper disposal of waste oil – following above treatment of condensate, this will ensure that any waste oil is disposed of correctly with an authorised waste disposal company who is registered as a ‘hazardous waste producer’ or ‘licensed waste carrier’.
If the above measures are implemented, then any visits from the Health and Safety Executive should run smoothly. To discuss how Airmech can help you to be compliant, please call our main line on 02476 345658 or contact us through our website here.

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