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Dr. Brian Baliwas, DDS, knows that there’s a time and a place to play by your own rules—and dentistry isn’t it. During a presentation at Seattle Study Club’s 2021 Symposium, Baliwas highlighted the need for dentists to follow product instructions in their practice and train others to do the same. Here’s what he had to say:
To Baliwas, one of the critical elements of success in dentistry is following the instructions for use, or IFUs, that come with new products in order to create the best patient experience possible.
“IFUs contain critical information regarding the proper storage, handling, preparation, and use of specific products,” says Baliwas. However, “While a lot of science and thought goes into creating this document, no one actually wants to read through this stuff.”
Baliwas says that, according to his research, the average dental office uses 467 different products, all of which come with their unique IFUs—many of which go ignored, a decision that can lead to serious consequences.
“Disregarded instructions or a missed step can lead to a loss of efficiency, a compromise in the longevity of a restoration, patient complications, or can even have safety and hazard-related consequences,” Baliwas explains.
In fact, when Baliwas reached out to a handful of dental companies to find out just how important IFUs were—and how many help calls could be avoided if they were simply read through—the figure he received was nothing short of shocking: up to 90 percent.
While Baliwas underscores the importance of understanding the proper method by which to use dental materials and tools, he notes that it’s understandable that some practitioners may want to skip steps to access only the information they need.
However, Baliwas says that doing so can lead to critical errors that have major repercussions for patients.