July EGP Nordent Article

July EGP/Hygiene
Title: Looking Sharp
Deck: A Key to Productivity, Effective Treatment and Patient Comfort in the Hygiene Department
The hygiene appointment is the most frequent interaction that dental practices have with their patients. All dental practices, particularly group practices, depend on the hygiene department to provide patients with a good experience and comfortable, effective treatment that will keep them coming back. In order to provide high quality treatment, hygienists must have the tools they need, which includes sharp instruments. Most practices recognize that it is important and cost effective to purchase scalers and curettes from a quality manufacturer, because they will stay sharp, perform better and last longer than off brand and low end instruments.

All scalers and curettes, of any manufacture and any material, get dull with use and need to be sharpened. Scalers and curettes that are coated with titanium nitride (thin gold colored material) cannot be sharpened and must be discarded and replaced when they become dull. Some scalers and curettes are made from more advanced formulations of stainless steel, such as Hu Friedy EverEdge® and Nordent XDURA®, and stay sharp longer than tradition stainless steels. However, these products will still dull with use and need to be sharpened. Therefore, keeping the instruments sharp becomes one of the greatest challenges for hygienists in every practice.

All hygienists know the value of working with sharp scalers and curettes. Sharp instruments provide the patient with a much more comfortable appointment, greatly reduce strain and fatigue for the hygienist, make procedures more efficient and add to productivity. Most importantly, hygienists require sharp instruments to remove calculus cleanly and reduce burnished calculus, particularly subgingivally.

Maintaining a regular sharpening schedule is challenging for many offices. Many clinicians are not comfortable with their sharpening technique and put off sharpening because they are concerned they will sharpen the instruments incorrectly. Sometimes multiple hygienists will be using and maintaining the same instruments, each with a different sharpening technique. Sometimes there is disagreement within the office about how often each instrument should be sharpened.

For most offices, the biggest challenge is TIME. As hygienists are required to provide a broader spectrum of treatment options and offices have become more focused on productivity, the demands on hygienists’ time have increased and maintaining regularly scheduled instrument sharpening has become challenging for most offices. When asked, many hygienists will say that they sharpen “when they can” or “when they have a cancellation”. However, many dentists and office managers require hygienists to make patient recalls or other activities during cancellations. Often the result is that hygienists begrudgingly get used to working with dull instruments and patient care and productivity suffers.

Nordent has developed a solution that fits today’s real world of dentistry. All Nordent XDURA and Relyant® scalers and curettes come with free, unlimited, professional sharpening for life. That means that at any time an office can send their XDURA or Relyant scalers to Nordent and they will be professionally sharpened free of charge. Nordent also offers professional sharpening for all brands of instruments, in order to provide offices with a complete, hands-off solution.

In addition, when XDURA or Relyant scalers become too thin to use, they can be traded-in for a new instrument at a 40% discount and these trade-in instruments also come with free sharpening. Over the past five years, Nordent has developed a system and materials to make the process fast and easy. They even provide a 24 hour in house turnaround. Many offices have found that with the XDURA or Relyant system, they can insure they are always using sharp instruments, they save time and frustration in the office and they are able to devote more time to focusing on patient care.