It’s time to organize dental supplies with Zirc!

So, at this moment, my husband and I are driving home from vacation. To be more precise, he’s driving and I have the urge to write about a cool project I’ve been working on at the office.

A few weeks ago, I decided to spend some time going through all of our supplies and materials. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten down and dirty with the explorers and bonding agents, and so I figured it was time to clean out, and I mean REALLY clean out our cabinets and shelves. We have a long time assistant who has been in charge of “the  back”, but as office manager, everything in the office is really my responsibility, and so I decided to go back there and check it all out.

Dental supplies are funny. It seems that no matter how hard you try to keep them all neat and organized, they can get disorganized pretty quickly. We use a great tag system for our inventory, and containers are all labeled, but things still looked messy.
For years, those cabinets always seemed like a never ending battle.

One of our problems is that we have little extra storage space in our practice. My current solution for that is to only order supplies once a month and to only order EXACTLY what we need and no more for that month. Because most of our materials can be ordered and shipped overnight, it doesn’t make much sense to carry a lot of extra stock on our shelves. Any unnecessary ordering (or multiple ordering in a month) means a smaller paycheck for the dentist. In other words, in our practice, the dentist gets paid with whatever money is left over at the end of the month. If I order supplies 10 times a month, that means we get charged 10 times for shipping. Those extra shipping charges are a total waste of money and come right out of the doctor’s paycheck. When offices tell me that they order many times a month whenever they need something, I cringe. They are wasting money. Order ONE time a month my friends!

But I digress…let’s get back to those storage cabinets. So, I am really efficient with my ordering, and I use a tag system so that we know when we run out of something, but I knew we needed to do something more.

The cabinets in our operatories also needed help. Although things were clean and neat, there was really no rhyme or reason to why certain things were on certain shelves.  Different assistants put things on different shelves and they were always running from room to room to find things. Over the years, I’d ask them to go and organize the shelves and to some degree they would, but I was never satisfied with what they came up with. To me, those supplies still looked disheveled and pathetic.

After inspecting “the back” that day, I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to think of ways to make things better. My goal was to be really organized and super efficient. I also wanted to make life easier for the assistants. I brought my concerns to the doctor after the last patient left that afternoon and all he said was, “You need Zirc”.

I had no idea what he was talking about, so I did a quick google search for “Zirc Dental”. After about 30 seconds on their website, I realized that I DID need Zirc. My mind was sufficiently blown. For someone like me, who likes efficiency, clear directions, and order, I IMMEDIATELY became a fan of Zirc and their products.

Do you know about Zirc? They offer systematic ways to color code all of your materials and instruments by color for easy identification. It’s really that simple. Now, we’ve done some color coding in the past, but I realized that we weren’t taking it far enough.
Here’s what we did. Every appointment/procedure type has a designated color on our practice management software. So, when you look at our schedule, it’s pretty colorful. We used a Zirc Complete Tub that holds all of the materials needed for that particular procedure in a color that corresponds with our practice management software. Then, we created a color coded steri-cage that holds all of that instruments necessary for that particular procedure. The set up for that patient is SO easy that ANYONE off the street can set up for it.

Here’s how it works. On the schedule is a patient at 8:45a.m. who is scheduled for a same day crown. In our office, we use purple for same day crowns.

All procedures are color coded. The color corresponds with the appropriate tub and steri-cages.

All procedures are color coded. The color corresponds with the appropriate tub and steri-cages.

To set up for this patient, the assistant grabs the purple tub and a purple cage. Everything in the tub and cage is labeled with the purple tape and bands.

It's easy for the assistant to know what to grab because the supplies are color coded with the schedule.

It’s easy for the assistant to know what to grab because the supplies are color coded with the schedule.

The set up now takes seconds! I love that! I’m all about doing whatever we can do to become more efficient and organized. Because all the materials and supplies are labeled, and in one designated place, there’s no more running around to look for things. We also have a new assistant working with us who can quickly set up for any procedure. He really appreciates the color coding.

Setting up take now takes seconds.

Materials are taken out quickly for the procedure. The tub is then moved to another counter as to not cross contaminate.

Finally, after all these years, I have those cabinets and shelves truly organized. We have eliminated clutter!

I love how easy it is to grab EXACTLY and ONLY what you need!

I love how easy it is to grab EXACTLY and ONLY what you need! We’ve included a list of procedures and colors so that everyone can remember what goes with what.

Now, that being said, creating the tubs, labeling, and banding everything didn’t happen over night. I spent quite a few extra hours at the office putting it all together, but it was so worth it. Look at our shelves now! I’m an EXTREMELY ‘Type A’ personality (not that you couldn’t figure that out by now) so I had no problem getting things organized. In case you aren’t as ‘Type A’ as I am, Zirc is there to help. They reached out to me a couple of times to offer help and advice. I thought that was cool.

I think it’s important and NECESSARY to empty out your shelves and cabinets every now and then. I think you’ll be surprised what you find-the expired materials, the old instruments, the free samples you never used, etc. Get rid of that junk and get organized!

By the way, I have no affiliation with Zirc. I just like to support efficient and productive systems, people, and companies.

Sunday night is winding down and tomorrow it’s back to reality. It will be fun to get back to work tomorrow, because we are organized and ready!

About Missy


  1. Never heard of Zirc before,Missy. Can’t wait to check it out! Thanks as always for the tip!!

  2. Jeremy Welter says

    Hi Lori,

    If you have any questions about the Zirc Color Code System I would be happy to chat with you. Missy has absolutely “hit the nail on the head” with her implementation of the Color Code System!

  3. MJ Olivas says

    Thank you so much Missy for the tips! I hope we can organize our clinic like whats in your picture! I just got promoted as Lead Dental Assistant and now trying to make a system to the clinic. We are a hot mess especially with our supplies! It is stressful enough that we are busy, the more when we run out of something! I’m so grateful to find your website. Thanks for the free downloads!

  4. You’re very welcome! Have fun organizing!

  5. Hey Missy, thanks for sharing this great post.

  6. Nice organization! The color coded feature looks very helpful.