Dental scaling tools are the actual “work horses” in the dental hygienist’s instrument kit. The quality, type, and size of the scaler you select will dramatically affect your daily efficiency and the level of service you provide to patients.
Poorly crafted pieces make it more difficult to clean the teeth of patients with extensive tartar and, as a result, can cost time. In addition, inefficient scalers can make you fall behind in your daily schedule, especially at a busy dental office! Even the weight of your scaler can affect how tired you are at the end of the day.
As you can see, a lot is riding on your dental scaling hand tools selection. We understand there are a lot of choices when it comes to dental and orthodontic instruments. So let’s examine some factors you should consider when purchasing scaling tools.
Why is Scaling Necessary?
We all know it’s essential to keep our teeth clean and flossed, but why is scaling such a big deal?
Well, when you don’t have your teeth scaled professionally and regularly, plaque and tartar can build up. This usually happens under the gum line and in pockets around the teeth and can lead to problems like:
Deep pockets that lead to bone tissue and tooth loss
Inflamed gums that develop into gingivitis or periodontitis
Recessed gums that visibly pull away from the teeth or shrink
Bone loss usually only observed with an x-ray
Regular cleanings that include scaling should be part of your dental care to prevent these oral health issues. Manual scaling tools and ultrasonic tooth scaling are both efficient.
Benefits of Manual Scaling
Dental ultrasonic scaling is the newer method, but manual scaling still has a lot of benefits. These instruments are specially designed to be able to scrape off any plaque or tartar that has accumulated on your teeth.
Getting in there manually and finding and scraping any buildup is efficient but time-consuming. However, if you have porcelain or composite restorations, manual scalers may be the better choice for you. Also, if your teeth have lost their mineral foundation, they may be prone to cavities, and manual scaling ensures those teeth are clean.
Benefits of Ultrasonic Scaling
How does an ultrasonic scaler work? Unlike manual scaling, ultrasonic tooth cleaners work through vibrations. When the vibrations are fast enough, the plaque and tartar fall off your teeth quickly and efficiently.
Some patients prefer this method because it eliminates the feeling of metal scraping against their teeth. However, it’s perfectly safe if you have sensitive teeth.
Ultrasonic scaling is also beneficial because the tips of the tool are so tiny. The size gives them the advantage they need to get in places with the scraping sound can irritate here manual scraping instruments have a hard time reaching.
As the vibrations do their job, the scaler gently sprays out cool water to help get the plaque and tartar out of their hiding places.
Importance of Scaling in Dentistry
Curettage, scaling, and root-planing are delicate procedures essential to your dental practice. The time spent performing these procedures and their importance in patients lasting oral health make selecting the right equipment necessary.
Multiple instruments exist for these practices, each serving a different stage of the cleaning process.
- Handle – Various shapes, sizes, and styles are available for these tools to prevent hand fatigue and repetitive strain. In addition, they can improve tactile sensation, making it easier for a dentist to control the tool. Hollow-handled tools are often preferred due to their lightweight and ability to enhance tactile sense while reducing hand fatigue. Textured handles are available to improve grip.
- Functional Shank –This term describes the portion of the tool that extends from the handle but does not include the portion of the tool that does the actual work. They are available in various straight, curved, and angled styles.
- Working End – At the end of the shank can be found the working end of the tool. The shape of the working end is defined by the function the tool is meant to perform. Stainless steel is popular due to its corrosion resistance. Carbide steel is often used due to its ability to hold a sharp edge longer, but it’ll rust if not cared for properly.
Scalers are defined by the shape of the working end, which are available in multiple styles to facilitate different cleaning processes. Sickle scalers are a popular variety used in most dental practices, but others are used depending on the patient’s needs.
- Sickle Scalers – Removal of supragingival calculus is aided with these weighty instruments.
- Curettes – Root planing, subgingival scaling, and soft-tissue removal use these tools.
- Chisel, Hoe, and File Scalers – Cementum and subgingival calculus that has proven difficult to remove can be addressed with this set of tools.
Some qualities in dental scaling tools
1. Proper Ergonomics
If you have patients who require heavy cleaning, you’re more than twice as likely to strain your hands and put yourself at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. A study in the Journal of Dental Hygiene stated that 75 percent of dental hygienists have some type of hand problem, and more than half exhibited symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome is not only painful, but it results in weakness in your fingers. Eventually, this will progress until you find it challenging to do everyday tasks such as buttoning shirts or carrying coffee mugs, according to information from the Mayo Clinic.
If at all possible, feel and hold the instrument before you purchase it to get a sense of its ergonomic properties and how it fits in your hand.
2. True economic value
Of course, anyone can make a scaler cheaper, but the adage is true: you get what you pay for. Longer-lasting dental tools have an obvious benefit. You should also consider that an efficient scaler enables you to complete cleanings timelily, affecting the entire practice’s productivity.
3. Outstanding materials
You want to find the perfect balance: you need a strong, stainless-steel material crafted to last, but a general rule is that the material should not be more complex than the tooth enamel.
4. Textured /serrated handles
Textured surfaces on the handle improve traction and enhance control. You may consider heavily dimpled instruments or strategically curved instruments. It’s essential to hold these tools to get a true sense of functionality. Contact us if you want to experience a sample of one of our tools.
After eight-plus hours of holding an instrument, even a slightly heavier variation on what you’re used to can contribute to your overall exhaustion. More severe tools require more excellent muscle activity and pinch force. Remember that instruments with hollow handles not only increase the tactile transfer but also minimize fatigue.
6. Shape of the instrument handle
A research study in the Applied Ergonomics medical journal explored how different tool handle shapes affected the amount of muscle and pinch force required to perform duties. Instruments with round and tapered shapes required the least amount of force. Tapered handles resulted in an 11 % reduction compared to a non-tapered tool. The less force you use, the better
Still not sure? We invite you to discover the difference
The bottom line is while these are all essential factors to consider when purchasing an instrument, the core principle is that you should use a tool that suits your personal preferences as long as it is:
Thousands of companies create quality dental instruments, but our tools come with good quality promise. It’s a promise of uncompromising excellence and customer service that is without equal.
Scaling in dentistry at Newport Beach, CA
Contact us for more information on how we can meet your dental supply needs with competitive pricing and same-day shipping. Explore our scalers, scaling tips, and ultrasonic insert to find your best hand tools.
Whether you’re ready to experience the innovative techniques of an ultrasonic scaler or prefer the traditional manual method, Dental Assets can help you improve your dental office.