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Instrument Sharpening

When do you find time to sharpen?
If there is not time….should you sharpen on your day off?
Should you be clocked in to sharpen whether it’s your day off or not?



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12 Answers

I really don’t have much time to sit down and sharpen alot of instruments at once. I will usually just keep a sharpening stone nearby so I can quickly use it on one or two instruments during the appointment. I would consider going in on a day off in order to sharpen all instruments that need it but I probably wouldn’t clock in for it.

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Any time I had a cancellation or no-show…sharpening time. I had different colored trays that I could sharpen certain sets at a time if I didn’t have enough time. The next time, different color.

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Great question! Before I switched to American Eagle XP instruments (no sharpen instruments) I would use every free minute to sharpen. I came to work 30 minutes early and once I was prepared for the day, I would do some sharpening. I have an hour lunch, but tend to clock in 20 minutes early to sharpen. No shows or cancellations are my main “sit down and sharpen” time. If there are multiple hygienists in an office it is really helpful if ALL hygienists pitch in and help sharpen. I find it very frustrating when I’m the only one who does it!

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Our office has two hygienists we each have our own cassettes and sharpen our own instruments. We are at work 30 minutes early (off clock) to set up and get ready for the day we have assistants so we can sharpen instruments then and also if there is down time.

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I usually block time out in my schedule to sharpen if its already a slow day. if my schedule seems to be really booked then I tend to stay after work or come in earlier to sharpen

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I use any no shows or late cancels for sharpening at times. But I usually come in 30 min early everyday to sharpen.

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One of my employers (general practice) gives the staff 30 minutes before lunch to get things done so when 5pm rolls around we can leave. Me & the other hygienist type notes, restock ops, sharpen instruments, etc. We have a Sidekick and it makes sharpening easy & fast. I don’t get paid since I am paid by the patient for this office (1/day week), but stuff has to get done.

At another practice I work at, we sharpen when the schedule is slow or during no-shows or cancellations. No Sidekick there, so we break out the sharpening stones 🙂 and we’re on the clock.

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I sharpen when I can find the time. I have also showed the DA how to do it so they are awesome about doing it while sterilizing most of the time. My office won’t let me get the ever edge so my instruments wear out fairly fast as the dds wants them sharpened after every use

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Our office sends them out occasionally to sharpen them but I keep a stone on hand also…if there’s a cancellation or a no show I get a few sets in 🙂

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Sidekick, sidekick, Sidekick!!!! I love mine but there are times I just have no time and I get behind on my sharpening, which makes me dread using them. I usually do it when I have no show or open spot, and usually I am on the clock. It’s funny though because some days I can sharpen instruments really we’ll and some days I’m just off and can’t quite get the right edge even with the sidekick.
Recently my boss just opened a new location and it’s too far for me to commute so she’s been doing most of her own hygiene. She has been coming in to watch me sharpen and ask me questions about technique( she has a Sidekick too). She said “Wow I never knew how important all this stuff was and how difficult it is to do. I almost brought all the hygiene instruments in from the other office so you could do it for me and show me.”

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I try to sharpen at set up before seating a patient, or at break down if there is enough time. This works when just one or two instruments in a kit need sharpening, otherwise I sharpen whole kits in open blocks. I am paid hourly and consider this part of proper patient care. I also sharpen the dentist’s perio sets, and have done these during a slow period in assembly line fashion. Tiring!

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My office allows us to send ours out to the manufacturer for sharpening 🙂 They also check to make sure they are safe to use and can recycle them if not. We get free instruments for every 12 recycled. It is nice to have this service. I keep a sterile sharpening stone nearby for touching up 🙂

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