Since 2002, Miele and Eschmann have worked closely together, providing dentists throughout the UK with professional cleaning technology.
Eschmann is the go-to name in the dental industry for dental cleaning and sterilisation equipment and exclusively supplies Miele washer-disinfectors, alongside providing customer training and robust service contracts.
This impressive partnership grew from a surprising stimulus. The use of washer-disinfectors by UK dentists first became mainstream after the variant CJD threat (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – the brain condition which can develop from eating meat infected with BSE, or mad cow disease) became a major concern and the British Dental Association (BDA) was actively working to educate members about the risks of prion contamination from dental procedures such as root canals or surgical treatments.
Scientists had discovered that the prions, the abnormal proteins which can cause variant CJD, could not be killed by sterilisation, but could be successfully washed off instruments such as drills, mirrors, probes and more, following contact with infected blood.
BDA guidance advised using washer-disinfectors to clean dental instruments in order to gain reproduceable, validated cleaning results, should the worst happen and a claim was lodged against a practice. And when Department of Health funding was provided to help bring the industry up to speed, many dentists invested in the new technology.
Eschmann’s UK Business Director, Sean Brennan explained: “Very quickly, the marketplace had changed. There was a need to improve processes in the dental environment, which had until that time been predominantly using handwashing technologies and autoclaves.
“We recognised this problem and needed to provide our customers with a solution. We sought to find a partner which had established washer-disinfector technology. We chose Miele based on its reputation in both professional and domestic markets and the quality of its products.”
As well as washer-disinfectors, Eschmann also supplies Miele’s new Little Giants professional washer and dryer range to the dental market. Designed to tackle high volumes of laundry to stringent hygiene standards, the range satisfies the requirements of the Department of Health’s guidance for decontamination in primary care dental practices. This document recommends daily on-site laundering of uniform and workwear.
Released in August 2020, the Little Giants PERFORMANCE and PERFORMANCE PLUS washing machines and dryers offer the benefits of eco-friendly technology, shorter wash cycles, a compact footprint and wifi connectivity. Wash cycles can be validated and monitored for accurate record keeping.
Both Eschmann and Miele are long-established companies, founded in 1830 and 1899 respectively, with a commitment to quality and service at their cores. And at the height of the demand for dental washer-disinfectors, the two companies even created a co-branded product – making Eschmann only one of three companies worldwide to boast this accolade, alongside McDonalds and Olympus.
“The two brands really complement each other and, over the years, the reputation of our partnership has built and strengthened throughout the dental market. Our longstanding customers have begun to upgrade their original purchases, and we supply to dentists who had purchased a competitor product that has gone by the wayside. We get a lot of people saying they wished they had bought a Miele product to begin with and regretted buying a different brand,” Sean said.
“Once a dentist has made the decision to invest, they appreciate the value that a Miele product brings. They don’t want to deal with an unreliable product which may break down or be difficult to use. That’s why they want to invest in a quality product, alongside the quality of Eschmann support, which, with more than 60 field based engineers, is better than can be offered elsewhere. Our engineers are renowned for their fast response time and generally are able to resolve many problems on the spot.”
The close partnership between Eschmann and Miele has also led to synergy that has benefited customers. Service Director Adam Smith points out that Eschmann engineers are so well versed in the Miele PG8581 machines that they have been able to develop dental-specific cycles which produce results that pass the demanding tests of the NHS and NHS Scotland supply chain networks. They are also able to lead customer training which goes above and beyond general product knowledge and satisfied the obligations for continuous professional development courses.
Adam adds: “To make life even easier for our customers, we were the first company to develop hands free instrument transfer (HFiT) cassettes which move instruments from chairside to the washer-disinfector and then autoclave, without the need to be touched. This not only saves loading time but reduces risk of injury from a sharp object and helps with traceability.”
There is no mandate for practices to use washer-disinfectors rather than wash by hand, so generally it is those conscientious dentists who aim to apply best practice in their business which invest in the technology.
“Part of our role is to educate dentists on the benefits of these products and their role in eliminating the risk of cross contamination,” said Sean.
Eschmann exclusively supplies the Miele PG8581 washer-disinfector, offering cost-effective performance and functionality. Dentists can be sure that all instruments are free from contamination prior to being sterilised, thereby giving their patients the ultimate peace of mind.