If you are a private practice dentist or run a dental center, then you likely take pride in providing patients great dental care and also offering hygienists a great workplace environment. However, you may be surprised to hear that one key to maintaining patient satisfaction and dental hygienist workplace satisfaction is simply keeping your dental instruments, including your curettes, sharp.
Read on to learn about the hazards of using dull curettes, signs a curette is too dull to perform properly, and how to always keep sharp curettes on hand without spending a fortune on dental instruments.
Hazards of Dull Dental Curettes
Dull dental instruments pose hazards to both patients and the dental hygienists who perform both routine dental cleanings.
Hazard to Patients
Dull dental curettes are not capable of removing tough, hardened plaque from tooth surfaces and below the gum line.
While the hygienist may think they are removing all plaque scale from a patient's teeth with a dull curette when they see the plaque on a curette after scaling a tooth, dull curettes often scrape away just the surface layer of plaque while still leaving some behind. For this reason, patients may return home with some cavity-causing plaque still remaining on their teeth after a hygienist or dentist scales their teeth with a dull curette.
Dental hygienists are always at high risk of the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)s, such as carpal tunnel syndrome because they tend to perform the same repetitive motions all day long when cleaning patients' teeth.
The use of a dull curette increases the force a hygienist must place on the instrument when cleaning teeth, and hygienists must hold these dull instruments tighter when scaling teeth. Both factors can increase the strain placed on a hygienist's hands, arms, and shoulders during dental cleanings, increasing the likelihood of MSD development.
Signs a Curette Is Too Dull To Perform Well
You can check curette sharpness with a plastic test stick. Simply place the sharp curette edge against the stick and see if it bites; if there is no bite, then the curette is dull.
Another way to check curette sharpness is to simply hold the curette tip under a very bright light. If light reflects off the cutting edge, then that means the edge is dull.
How To Keep Curettes Sharp Affordably
Consider having your curettes retipped by a curette retipping service on a regular basis instead of purchasing new curettes.
The retipping company will replace the dull curette tips with sharp ones for a fraction of the price of brand-new curettes. You can then have your hygienists use the retipped curettes when performing dental cleanings to improve both patient and hygienist satisfaction.
Dull dental curettes can leave plaque behind and increase the strain placed on hygienists' bodies during routine dental cleanings. Send your dull curettes to a curette retipping service on a regular basis to combat these problems.
For more information, contact a retipping service, such as Dental Instrument Specialists.