With more hand scaling needed, it’s time to make it central to your preventive treatmentsNews
Posted by: The Probe 12th December 2020
It’s always a good idea to take a step back from the day-to-day to appreciate what an exciting and progressive industry dentistry is. Not only is it full of forward-thinking and inspiring people, but cutting-edge techniques, tools and equipment have made many things that were once impossible, possible.
Still, practices and practitioners need to focus on what their patients actually want, so they can meet their needs. Delivering a patient-focussed service has always been the foundation of every successful and thriving practice. Patients are not always as impressed by innovation as they are by quality care and value for all treatments, including routine. The modern patient also wants efficiency, which includes communication that is professional, informed and caring before treatment has even begun.
Patients also expect a successful clinical outcome which, with maintenance, will keep them in good oral heath for as long as possible. Oral health has never been a more precious commodity. When it is achieved, people will not only need fewer dental appointments and reduce their risk of invasive (and expensive) treatment down the line, but they can also avoid the development of other serious, often life-limiting, diseases.
Quality preventive services are key and should be part of every practice’s treatment list. Oral health consultations will cover the whole range of behaviours that will keep a patient healthy and happy in between visits – things like diet, smoking cessation and correct daily brushing. A professional deep clean of the teeth and gums, delivered by a practitioner, isn’t only for individuals who have progressed to periodontal issues, either, but it will remove optimal plaque build-up, which may be unseen, before a serious problem develops.
Scaling may be considered “routine” everyday dentistry, but it is a powerful weapon in the prevention of oral disease, as well as other dental conditions like halitosis. A deep, preventive clean of the whole mouth supports better oral health and it will allow your patients to smile with confidence. A healthy smile to be proud surely tops the list of what patients want.
Hand scaling, invaluable in this new landscape
Dentists and dental hygienists have long had two options for scaling; post-COVID we have seen an increased need for hand scaling over scaling with ultrasonic tools, due to recommendations to limit the use of the latter.
If you weren’t habitually reaching for hand-scaling tools “before”, this may have been because you thought it would take you longer to achieve effective deposit removal and also that they are not as comfortable to work with as ultrasonics, for both you and your patients. However, not only is hand scaling an efficient way to clean a patient’s mouth, including any periodontal pockets and minor plaque accumulations, but there are also instruments available that respect ergonomic principles, allowing practitioners to avoid hand strain and injury.
Knowing how to deliver hand-scaling treatments with skill and efficiency is an invaluable technique in this new landscape for dentistry. Skilful hand scaling will “neutralise” any trouble spots and mean you can continue offering this valuable preventive service, despite current concerns around aerosol-generating procedures, to ultimately lower the level of oral disease among your patients. In dentistry, technique, tool and material selection are closely intertwined; the techniques required for minimally invasive treatments, which are comfortable, gentle, efficient and clinically stable, require tools and materials that support them.
The best instruments for hand scaling will offer comfort as well as control and precision. You must be able to maintain a correct non-slip grip when working, without the risk of “cumulative trauma” to the wrist or hand, of the kind that has afflicted dental professionals for decades.[i] Look for optimised designs that allow for proper engagement with each tooth, so with every movement you achieve the efficient removal of calculus build-up. High-quality tools also mean fewer strokes and less pressure – which means reduced time and effort to achieve an excellent result. Other features to look for in hand tools are lightweight instruments that offer tactile sensitivity and strength, making them excellent value for both your practice and patients. LM Dental are the makers of industry-leading dental instruments, including instruments for hand-scaling that are pioneers in ergonomics. Supplied by J&S Davis, the designs will help practitioners avoid occupational diseases and also guarantee clinical success. For example, try the LM PerioKit, a set of instruments for periodontal work, also designed to maximise ergonomics.
Gentle, effective dental scaling is a classic preventive treatment and, with the new guidance and recommendations for COVID-secure dentistry, there is an increased need for hand scaling. Hand scaling is as effective as ultrasonic scaling when you use the best techniques and tools. Leading instruments will also allow your hand to remain in the correct position, optimising ergonomics. Invest in the highest-quality instruments to give your patients what they want; a deep clean to remove build-up, to help keep them in oral health, achieved efficiently, conservatively and comfortably.
Author: Steve Brown Director of Sales and Marketing J&S Davis Ltd
[i] Sanders MJ, Turcotte CA. Ergonomic strategies for dental professionals. Work. 1997 Jan 1;8 (1): 55-72.
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