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Keeping Dental Instruments Sharp in 3 Simple Steps



Why is it important to keep dental scalers, curettes, and Gracey instruments sharp? Because it:

• reduces chair time

• improves patient comfort

• reduces the number of strokes and pressure necessary to remove calculus deposits

• improves efficiency

• reduces the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders

• avoids burnishing calculus

Dental instruments can’t stay sharp for long. Running a sharp edge over a hard surface wears and rounds the edges of the instrument slightly with every stroke.

As it becomes duller, it forces the user to apply more pressure to make the instrument work properly. Over time, the user adapts to the gradual wear, making it habitual to push harder, increasing the chance of burnishing calculus instead of removing it while compromising ergonomics and long-term health.

Paradise Dental Technologies (PDT) designs instruments to hold their edges longer and that are easier to sharpen, as well as a sharpening system that is easy to use.

Gleason Guide for Sharpening Dental Instruments The Gleason Guide Sharpening System, a simple 3-step process, takes the guess work, and much of the elbow grease, out of instrument sharpening, which makes it less of a pain to do it more often.

The 3-Step Process

1. Stop: place the back of the instrument’s blade against the stop.

2. Rest: lower the instrument until the terminal shank is resting against the bar.

3. Glide: move the instrument in a gliding motion across the stone using light pressure.

Sharpening instruments should be done based on usage rather than time (ie, daily, weekly). It is easy to check whether an instrument needs sharpening: the visual glare test or using a test surface such as PDT’s PingRing.

The visual glare test involves assessing how light reflects off the junction of the face and the lateral side of the blade. If light reflects at that point, this indicates the instrument needs to be resharpened. If there is no reflection that means it is sharp.

The PingRing can be used to test sharpness by placing the blade at the angle you would against a tooth. Using your fulcrum, apply a normal amount of pressure. If the blade grabs the surface of the PingRing, an audible pinging sound confirms that the edge is sharp. If it slides across the ring, it is time for resharpening.

Instruments can’t stay sharp forever. The Gleason Guide Sharpening System uses ceramic sharpening stones, which are harder and do not require the use of oil or water while sharpening.

This is not only convenient, it saves time. Any scaler, curette, or Gracey can be sharpened with the Gleason Guide Sharpening System, but be sure to check whether the manufacturer uses coatings to maintain instrument edges, which would be compromised during the sharpening process and may become unsafe to use.


For more information on PDT instruments and to watch a series of videos on the best ways to sharpen a variety of instruments, click here

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