The Courage to Change
Many of us were introduced to specific manufacturers and instruments while we were in college. Sometimes we were introduced to instruments because our professors preferred them. In other cases, perhaps the manufacturer gave a special deal to the college or donated equipment/funding to the school. Although you may have learned using specific tools, software or equipment, there are still many ways to increase your knowledge base and add new skills to your repertoire.
There is not enough time for you to learn every instrument, software or equipment that is out there. But with the New Year approaching, I would challenge all of you to try a new piece of equipment, instrument, or product at least quarterly. If you always use the same thing you were taught in college, how will you stay on the cutting edge of dentistry?
We all learned about one power scaler more than another, often due to the comfort level of the instructors at school. But remember that magnetorestrictive ultrasonic systems are not the only option out there when it comes to power scalers. There are also piezoelectric ultrasonic systems, and there are many benefits to this type of system compared to magnetorestrictive ultrasonic scalers.
One benefit is patient comfort. The system does not need as much water to keep the tip cool, so patients do not feel like they are getting a bath or drowning. It is more comfortable to the patient as it moves in a linear motion and not an elliptical motion. The calculus is removed in sheets, like you would remove ice from a car window, whereas the magnetorestrictive system bangs the calculus off of the tooth.
There are also benefits to the practitioner, as there is a lot less vibration in the hand piece, if any, so the tactile feel is better than the magnetorestrictive system. The provider will use the same technique as hand scaling. There is also decreased fatigue, as a lighter touch is used and the movement is not as fast because you don’t need to worry about the tip overheating.
One of my favorite piezoelectric systems is made by Acteon. It has multiple tips to choose from depending on what your patient’s needs are. The wrench system for changing tips is very easy, and the handpiece feels very light.
This is just one area you might want to explore when looking into the different technologies out there. You may even want to try a new hand scaler like the Blackjack by American Eagle, particularly if you tend to scale only with Gracey instruments. If you use scalers or universal scalers on a regular basis, you may want to try the Scandette, which is also made by American Eagle.
Even if you do not choose to try American Eagle’s XP Technology line, which are instruments that do not need to be sharpened, you may find that you like the quality of the edge that has been created by American Eagle. I have found that my instruments are easier to sharpen and the edge comes back quicker when I am sharpening their standard instruments.
If you don’t want to try a new manufacturer, you could still try a totally different style of instrument. Other than my 6/7, I do not use any of the same instruments that I learned with during college, and I definitely do not have any regrets.
Patients notice when new technology is implemented in your practice, and they appreciate knowing that your office keeps up with the cutting edge of dentistry. Remember how they noticed when you went to digital x-ray or digital impressions?
New equipment increases patient comfort and saves time. Patient retention may be increased by you and your team by bringing new information, products and better experiences to your patients. The time is now for you and your staff to challenge yourselves by trying something new.
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