When it comes to outfitting their practice with dental monitors, many dentists choose to buy regular consumer monitors instead of low-voltage monitors. This is often because regular consumer monitors are cheap and sold by familiar brand names like Dell and HP. In theory, buying monitors from these companies seems like a practical choice for many dentists.
So what’s the problem?
The dental operatory is regulated by a set of electrical codes which aim to protect dental staff and their patients from electrical equipment. Since many consumer monitors are not low-voltage, there are certain steps these dental offices are required to take in order to meet compliance.
Patient safety is regulated by the National Electric Code (NEC 70)
The National Fire Protection Association Code 70 (also known as the National Electric Code or NEC 70) is the standard that regulates electrical work in offices, homes, and healthcare facilities, including dental operatories.
Electrical safety codes that apply to the dental operatory:
- Within the “patient care area” all 120-volt power sources must have ground fault protection (NEC 70 Section 517-20).
- Any connections and cables that are pulled into a 120-volt circuit in the same raceway (VGA, HDMI, video, audio, coaxial) must be enclosed within a 300-volt insulated cable (NEC 70 Article 300.3).
What is the patient care area?
The patient care area is any portion of a healthcare facility wherein patients are intended to be examined or treated. Since patient care areas are subject to the presence of liquids, they are also known as ‘wet locations.’ Patient vicinity is an imaginary closed space that encompasses 6 feet horizontally from the patient and 7.5 feet above the floor.
What does this mean for dental operatories?
If a dental practice uses monitors with 120-volt power sources and does not meet the electrical safety codes outlined in NEC 70, they are risking the safety of both their staff and patients. Should an electrical accident occur, the dental practice could face lawsuits or insurance issues.
How to ensure your practice meets compliance
There are two ways to make sure your dental practice is in compliance with NEC 70. The easiest way is to outfit your practice with low-voltage monitors instead of regular consumer monitors. Low-voltage monitors, like the 24”
If you prefer to use a regular consumer monitor, your practice will need to install ground fault protection and enclose any connections or cables into an insulated raceway. While this may seem like a simple solution, installing electrical safety measures may require the help of an electrician and is susceptible to human error and long-term maintenance.
The upside of using a low-voltage dental monitor like DENclarity, is that it’s specifically designed to fit the needs of the operatory. Check out these other DENclarity features:
- Watertight screen – This allows the monitor screen to be sprayed directly with disinfectants. No more worrying about the spread of germs, blood, or bacteria. Since the screen is completely sealed, it will also stay safe from water damage.
- High brightness – With a higher brightness, dentists can see X-rays more clearly and avoid a misdiagnosis.
- HD TV option – DENclarity’s HD TV option helps reduce patient anxiety. It is extremely effective with younger patients, and can promote a more positive patient experience.
- Remote control – With a remote control, dentists are able to quickly switch between patient charts, X-rays, and DENclarity’s TV function. This provides dentists with a seamless workflow.
If you’re interested in learning more about NEC 70, please visit our resources page.