Grace Chou sent me the first email about Tooth-Happy Disposable Handpiece (a plastic dental drill) on March 18, 2014 from China. Since I am a dental hygienist and don't buy things to drill into patient's teeth, I ignored the first email.
The email said something about how the new trend in dentistry is to convert from metal to plastic (drills) and that was what the future holds for handpieces in dentistry.
Then I got a second email from Grace Chou on March 31 and then a third on May 19th and then a fourth email on June 23 all about Tooth-Happy from No. 85, Fengqing Road, Jinshui District, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China.
Henan Jianlida Medical Instrument Co., in China, has been researching, developing and manufacturing Disposable Dental Turbine (single use high speed dental turbine)for many years. Hope to find a way to cooperate with you.
More information, Pls contact us.
Thanks & Best regards,
After the fourth email I decided to respond to Grace Chou's email so I sent Grace Chou a list of questions and she sent me a photo of the plastic drill and replied:
Dear Ann Day:
Thank you very much for your interest in our disposable dental handpiece. About your questions, we'll respond as follows:
1.How much does it cost retail?
The suggest retail price for"Tooth health" disposable dental handpiece is $7.00 to $12.00.
2. How much is it wholesale?
FOB Price (USD)
5,000 - 20,000$4.10
above 20 000 $4.00
3. Can it be sterilized and reused?
Single person use only. No sterilization, maintenance and repairment required.
4. Is it recyclable?
Not recyclable. Made of food grade pure ABS.
5. How long has it been on the market?
It has been 8 years since 2006.
6. Who invented it?
It was invented by our company. Our "Tooth health" disposable dental handpiece obtains 22 patented technologies, including 3 invention patent.
Dear Ann Day, we're looking forward to your reply.
Well I replied and asked some more questions about pollution and workers and here are Grace Chou's answers:
Thanks for your reply.
1. Do you have a video of this handpiece working?
Please click the link of video below:
2. Does your company do anything to reduce pollution in China? (We see lots of photos of black skies in China here from all the pollution)
Our "Tooth health" disposable dental handpiece is made of food grade pure ABS.
3. Do you sell through American dealers? Which ones?
No dealers in America so far. But we have a good friend (Mats Engstrom) there, is our potential agent.
4. How do you treat your workers that make these?
a. How many hours a day do they work?
b. Do they have breaks - 15 minutes every 4 hours and a one hour lunch?
10 minutes every 2 hours. 2 hours lunch.
c. What do you pay them?
1.2 times of Zhengzhou minimum wage standard.
d. Are they provided safety equipment while working?
(When heating up ABS during production (for molding or extrusion), fumes of acrylonitrile can be produced. Sealed special boxes with powerful air funnels and remote controlling of the process.)
We get the parts from our supplier and our workers accemble. Our workers wear dust-free clothes, mask and rubber gloves. Insurance, transport subsidies, housing subsidies and regular travel are provide for workers.
5. Do you have any community projects your company participates in that better the world or are charities?
We organize and play friendly match with local companys.
6. Does ABS stand for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene?
Then she asked me "May I know your quantity for our first cooperation?" I then emailed her and wrote that I was thinking of writing a story about her and her product. After that I did not get any further emails from Grace Chou but thought this correspondence with her would be interesting for other people to read.
Prophy Angles (the things the hygienist uses to polish teeth) in most offices are disposable now and most dental hygienists use them. There are some offices that still use the metal prophy angles with the screw on cups. They can be sterilized between patients which is probably a lot better for the earth but takes more time and work. Disposable prophy angles are faster and easier to deal with.
Maybe Grace is right and this is the future for dentistry. More disposable products, more plastic to dump in landfills, more smoke in the air to make more one use products. This will eventually catch on. All kinds of disposable plastic products from China seem to be catching on like wildfire right now especially in places like Wal-Mart.
Grace Chou was doing her job. She is trying to sell a product that probably would be more in demand if dentists had to sterilize their own instruments. Dentists hire assistants to do that so the demand is probably not as high as it would be if they were running out of handpieces all the time. They may want disposable handpieces because the metal ones they have are in need of repair or their assistant is not able to keep up with sterilization.
My last question is this - Once we are done with this planet and dispose of it where do we get a new one?