It goes without saying that sharp instruments are better instruments. Any instrument performs at its best when it's in peak condition. Just like a great tennis player needs a well-strung racket or a great musician needs a well-tuned instrument, dental professionals need sharp scalers to provide the best experience for patients.
Yet, maintaining a sharp edge is no easy task. There are thousands of different scalers and curettes on the market and remembering the proper sharpening technique for all of them is often challenging.
Why sharpening matters
Although there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to sharpening, for best results, instruments should be sharpened at the first sign of dullness.
Over time, dull instruments are harder to use properly and require excess use of force during scaling. This means the hygienist must work harder to achieve the same results, causing excess fatigue while potentially harming the user's wrists and shoulders. It can also cause discomfort to patients. Worse, dull instruments sliding over calculus can lead to burnished calculus - a potentially dangerous oral health condition.
There is also an economic component to sharpening. Proper maintenance improves the longevity of instruments. Consistent sharpening will conserve more of the blade as compared to grinding away an excessive amount of metal when recontouring an extremely dull blade.
Your personal instrument sharpening assistant
Although the advantages of sharp instruments are clear, finding the time to master the technique remains a challenge. With the increasing responsibilities of clinicians, it can be hard to find the time to log into a computer or review an instructional manual for the different sharpening steps for each instrument.
To remove the confusion and complexity from sharpening, Hu-Friedy set out to develop a simple, innovative and interactive educational tool to help guide dental professionals through the sharpening process.
The Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant is a free resource for dental professionals powered by Google Assistant and Alexa.
The voice assistant software is an ideal platform for delivering step-by-step sharpening instructions that clinicians can follow at any pace. Rather than fumble through a brochure or YouTube tutorial, the Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant provides hands-free guidance.
How the Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant works
The Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant is the world's first and only voice-controlled educational tool designed to help dental professionals keep their instruments in top working order. It uses the latest technology to provide a simple and educational aid for this important task, any-time, anywhere and is available on any Alexa or Google Assistant enabled device. To download on Alexa, simply search for Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant. On Google search for Hu-Friedy Sharpening Support.
Once downloaded, here's how Sharpening Assistant works:
- Launch Sharpening Assistant on Alexa by prompting your voice-enabled device with "Alexa, open Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant". On Google, type "Hey Google, open the Hu-Friedy Sharpening Support".
- Choose which instrument you would like to sharpen, either by saying any Hu-Friedy part code or instrument type, such as sickle scaler, universal scaler, or Gracey curette.
- The Sharpening Assistant will walk through the sharpening steps for the specific instrument you have chosen.
- You can ask it to repeat a step, pause, skip a step, or start over at any point in the process, enabling you to control the pace of your lesson without looking up from your work.
- Visual learners can use the sharpening assistant on Alexa to watch sharpening videos like Hu-Friedy's "It's About Time" sharpening tutorial.
Sharpening is a hands-on activity and the Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant provides clear and precise instruction without any unnecessary distractions, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. It's absolutely free and the technology is natural and responsive, so you can customise your experience to your skill level.
With Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant, Hu-Friedy put expert sharpening instructions within your reach at a moment's notice. All you have to do is ask.