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Life of an Instrument

Typically, how long do your instruments last?

I am the primary RDH in my office working 4 days a week, 8 patients a day.. we have 3 other hygienists that work a combined 3 days, 8 patients a day and fridays are 6 patients.. thats a total of 62 patients a week.. we have 9 cassettes that rotate between us.. I sharpen once a week (the only day I’m alone and can track what got sharpened)

Our doctor is only allowing us to get new instruments once a year.. He only buys off brand instruments becuase they are cheaper and just tells me I’m over sharpening or sharpening too much.. So, I’m wondering how long your instruments last? How often do you get new ones? How often do you sharpen?


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1 Answer

With that many patients and cassettes, I don’t think you are sharpening too much. When dentists don’t allow the hygienist proper instruments, it actually costs more in the long run because you must sharpen more often and should replace every 6-12 months, if not sooner if they are poor quality. Not to mention the time you spend sharpening could be used for much more productive tasks! I never will understand why dentists do this to their hygienists. Would this dentist use worn out burs? No, of course not! They just don’t understand that buying cheap actually costs more. When I used instruments that needed to be sharpened I sharpened once per week. This was 3 days of 8 patients with 12 cassettes. I would get new instruments as I needed them, about 9-12 months (but these were not off-brand instruments). However, I now use American Eagle XP instruments which don’t need to be sharpened and last just as long if not longer than any other instruments I’ve ever used. Here is a good article regarding your question: http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-28/issue-4/feature/instrument-replacement-how-when-amp-why.html

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