Finding the Right Plaster Trap for Your Dental Practice

select a plaster trap for your dental office, trauma room and dental lab

Plaster traps often go underappreciated in most dental practices.

There is, actually, a good reason for this.

Dentists have many tools at their disposal. Things that they often spend far more time working with compared to plaster traps. Mirrors, probes, operative burs, excavators, forceps, dentists have many tools in their tool belts.

In fact, many of them aren’t interested in talking about plaster traps at all.

When a plaster trap is doing its job, you won’t even notice it’s there, but…

When they break down, you’ll definitely start to notice.

Some dentists spend so little time thinking about plaster traps that they don’t totally understand their function to begin with.

So, allow me to explain.

What does a plaster trap do?

A plaster trap is a water filtration system built into the sinks of dental laboratories. These systems rely on gravity to separate the natural plaster debris from the draining water. It is crucial for plaster traps to work seamlessly when nurses, dentists or dental technicians are using any plaster in hospitals, dental offices or dental labs.

Plaster traps play an important part in maintaining a functional workspace, consider that plaster traps prevent drain blockage. It can be incredibly expensive and require a lot of outside help to repair damaged pipes. Not to mention that you’ll have to close up shop.

If this happens to you, you’ll most likely start to notice a musty odor coming from the trap as well. While all traps will start to smell over time, malfunctions will most definitely intensify the issue.

Treatment of the odors

And trust me when I tell you that this odor is definitely not good for business.

What causes the odor?

Plaster traps can collect a lot of sink waste (blood/skin/spit/grime/dirt) along with the plaster that they contain. Needless to say, the smell can get quite putrid without proper maintenance.

Does this happen to all types of traps?

In short, yes. While there are traps like the Buffalo Trap-EZE which has a built-in automatic sanitizing system, the reality is that traps collect waste and over time that waste will start to smell.

What is the best way to treat odors from plaster traps?

You cannot afford to call a plumber to clean the trap every time, in some cases, the odor builds up quickly. Using a professional deodorizer for drains and traps is highly recommended.

Types of plaster traps

So, I figured I’d start with some of the benefits of disposable plaster traps.

As the name would suggest, these plaster traps are disposable and designed to be thrown away after several uses. While these systems will; obviously, require you to crawl under your sink every once and a while, the benefits are clear. Disposable traps are the easiest solution for the capture of waste. If your system smells, you can swap it out for a new one.

But, even though they won’t charge you much, you will most likely be seeing your plumber quite often. Disposable traps are the cheaper option for plaster traps and you get what you pay for.

You may also be interested in reusable plaster traps. These are very much like disposable traps; however, they are designed to be easily removed, cleaned, and then replaced.

I often recommend the Buffalo Trap-Eze disposable trap for people interested in this type of system.

But while I have used disposable and reusable traps before, I made the switch to a traditional trap years ago. And I’ve never had any problems with the system.

Even though this style of trap may require more hands-on-cleaning, they are systems built for longevity. Your hands may get dirty every once and a while, but the amount of fiddling under the sink is minimal with a well-built traditional plaster trap.

I recommend investing in systems like the Handler 299 or a Keystone plaster trap if you’re looking for a system that’s reliable and built to last.

However, I understand that for many of your price is the most significant variable when buying plaster traps.

Many still consider plaster traps to be, largely, superfluous. While I disagree, I still wanted to leave you with some information on the cheapest ways possible for dentists to manage plaster discharge.

While this method may require some assembly, it could also cost you as little as $10.

There are many DIY plaster trap designs available on the internet. I’ve used some of them in the past, but I found that I had to clean the system quite often or it would start to smell.

And although you might have to spend some extra time tracking down parts and building this plaster trap, they are definitely cheap.   
Here’s the design that I would recommend.

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