December 18, 2010

Hot Towel Dispensers: What a Cool Idea!

Modern day dental cleanings, don’t you just love them!  But what you don’t love is all that prophyJet spray all over your face when they are done.  Sure, the hygienist is careful not to get it everywhere, but everywhere is goes, none the less.  We started to use a hot towel dispenser in our office about 4 years ago, and it has been very welcomed by both our patients and staff.  I assigned the duty of restocking the dispenser every morning to the hygiene staff.  I wouldn’t want them to turn into a bunch of prima donnas, now would I.  We are blessed at our office to have a large break room.  It is equipped with two microwave ovens, a kitchen sink with garbage disposer and RO water, a full sized refrigerator,  coffee pot and toaster oven, lots of cabinet space, lockers for the staff, and a washer/dryer stacked combo in a closet.   The room can hold about 25 people, and has a ceiling mounted projector, drop down podium and projector screen for office meetings and little seminars/study clubs.  The washer and dryer is used for not only washing our scrubs and gowns, but the little wash clothes we place in the hot towel dispenser every morning.  Once the wash clothes are washed and dried, they are stored on a mobile cart.  Went they are needed to fill the dispenser, they are folded over and rolled into little hot dog shapes.  They are then run through warm water and set into the dispenser’s tray which will heat them up to “HOT”.  We got a dispenser with two separate compartments.  Each compartment can be turned on or off.   Having a rather large office with 12 operatories, 3-4 hygienist and 2-3 doctors, we rarely ever need more than one compartment going at one time.

Nothing fancy about the towels.  Just simple white easy to clean/bleach hotel/motel style wash clothes.  As a matter of fact that was were I ordered them from, a hotel supply company.  Got about a 1000 in one order, for cheap.  I can still see a bundle of them up on a shelve in the break room that hasn’t been busted open yet.

If you have a hard time implementing new ideas into your office with your staff, then just be vigilant for about 6 months with this one.  Because when the patients who have used them are recalled, they will be asking for them next time!

Troubleshooting tips:

Don’t put too much water in the towels, or they will drip possibly filling the drip pan, and overflow onto the counter.  It takes some practice to know just how much water to put into the towels.

Make sure you turn the hot towel dispenser off at night.  We have a Lutron system at our office that with the click of one button every non-essentual power supply is turned off at one time.

Open the door(s) at night/weekends or the wet warm towels may mildew, and begin to stick.  Thankfully that has never happened at our office, but it has been discussed as a possibility.