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31 Jan 2021 | Oral Hygiene

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Harmony scalers and curettes: Frequently asked questions

1. What is TrueFit Technology?

HuFriedyGroup pioneered TrueFit Technology to address the need for scientific evidence in ergonomics. TrueFit Technology was then utilised to develop the Harmony Ergonomic Scaler and Curette handle, which has optimal proportions and an ideal width that provides a secure and nimble grasp.

2. How was TrueFit Technology developed?

In building the TrueFit Technology system, HuFriedyGroup sought out leaders in technology and development to design an advanced platform that could adapt to practitioners and allow its engineers to create an iterative development process. In addition, to help grow and build a database for ergonomic application, HLB, an award-winning design firm, became a partner in the process. They, in turn, partnered with leading global sensor technology firms to custom develop a system capable of touch sensitivity that is adaptable to all users and designs, without interfering with the practitioners or instruments being tested. The result, TrueFit Technology, is an advanced sensor-based technology system, which has measured over 2.8 million data points for pinch force in the finger and pressure applied to the tooth when scaling.

3. Why is science so important to verifying ergonomics?

Years have been spent previously gathering feedback and qualitative data on what an "ergonomic" design should be. While this helped HuFriedyGroup in the initial development process, it also brought a lot of opinion-based input. The plethora of subjective feedback needed a solution to help sift out factual benefits. HuFriedyGroup sought to distinguish factual parameters, such as pinch force and pressure on the tooth, which could be used to develop the ideal handle design for an instrument.

4. What went into the development of the Harmony Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes?

A development process similar to software engineering was adopted for this project. A gamut of handles currently available in the market globally were used as the starting point for the research. The data gathered was applied to a range of innovative new design concepts. These different handle designs helped establish comparison points for iterative development. The new design concepts were tested and features that showed the strongest influence were progressed on to future designs, whereas those elements that did not perform were removed from the process. This step-by-step approach to design, test and revise allowed HuFriedyGroup to make rapid progress on key factors like reduction of pinch force and reduced pressure on the tooth. Over 50 hygienists spanning continents and countries around the world participated in the testing. The collective data gathered amounted to almost 2.8 million data points.

5. What was HuFriedyGroup's involvement in the analysis of the data collected and how was bias removed?

To keep a scientific perspective and accurate representation of the data, HuFriedyGroup worked with a 3rd party analytics firm, Hanover, a top 50 research firm, to review and analyse the data collection. Hanover is a leader in analytics and works with clients that span everything from global organisations, to emerging companies and educational institutions. Founded in 2003, Hanover has over 300 employees, including a high-calibre staff of researchers, survey experts, analysts, statisticians and grant professionals. They applied a scientific level of analyses to the data gathered with TrueFit Technology and assessed it without bias to determine key findings and statistical relevance among the collected data samples.

6. What were the key findings from the data collected?

There were three key findings after Hannover analysed the data:

  1. The Harmony Ergonomic Scaler and Curette handle, with its optimised shape and double helix grip, reduces pinch force up to 65% compared to other leading scaler designs;
  2. The difference to the pressure applied to the tooth was significant; up to 37% less pressure compared to other leading scaler handle designs; and
  3. There is a negligible relationship between the weight of a scaler and the total pinch force as well as between weight of the scaler and pressure applied to the tooth.

7. If it's made of metal, it must be heavier right?

The current marketplace perception is that lightweight handles are more ergonomic. But to achieve a lighter weight, these handles tend to be plastic resin or silicone, which may offer less tactile sensitivity and fall short of the durability of steel handles. The development team was hyper-sensitive to ensure its new handle was not too heavy. What they learned throughout the iterative testing is weight was really more of a Goldilocks complex; it couldn't be too heavy, but it also couldn't be too light. This subjective feedback was supported by a key finding that weight has a negligible relationship to total pinch force. Therefore, the Harmony Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes are similar in weight to the current #9 handled EverEdge 2.0 Instruments.

8. Will this handle be compatible with IMS?

With HuFriedyGroup being the leader in infection prevention, it was imperative to ensure these handles were compatible with its IMS Cassette System. These handles are the same length as a traditional #9 handle and they fit in the rails the same way other scalers do today. The handles do not touch each other which ensures proper cleaning, drying and sterilisation and a variety of tests ensured a safe and secure fit in the cassette.

9. Refresh my memory, what is the benefit of EverEdge™ 2.0 Technology?

Using an enhanced finishing process, the professional artisans at HuFriedyGroup create edges that are scientifically measured to be over 72% sharper out of the box compared to the next closest competitor. Even after 500 strokes, the blade is 50% sharper than the next leading competitor. How do they know they are that much sharper? Independent testing was conducted by CATRA, a specialised blade laboratory that utilised advanced test equipment to perform materials analysis in order to advise today's leading manufacturers on the art of sharpening stainless steel. They evaluated Hu-Friedy EverEdge 2.0 Scalers and Curettes alongside competitive instruments to determine this result.

10. Why do some competitor scalers get sharper after several strokes before getting dull again?

Competitors' scalers contain a large burr formation. What this means is that the burr (thin flap of metal that forms during the finishing process) actually covers the blade out of the box. At a certain point, the burr comes off during clinical use which causes the temporary spike in sharpness. This is actually considered to be a manufacturing flaw. It is important to note that the EverEdge 2.0 Scalers and Curettes are materially sharper than all competitors' scalers at every point.

11. How does EverEdge 2.0 instruments compare to coated scalers?

EverEdge 2.0 Scalers and Curettes, based on tip design, can be used for all types of calculus. However, competitive scalers with a coating cannot be used on heavy and/or tenacious calculus per the manufacturers' IFU. Due to the coating, the manufacturers recommend a "shaving" technique that is not taught in schools as it may cause burnishing of calculus.

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