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Scaling Implants

I am having the hardest time scaling implants. We use the plastic scalers and I feel like all I’m accomplishing is rolling around the crown and not really doing anything. One of the hygienists in my office wanted to look into getting an air polisher but the office manager could said she could not justify the costs. It turned into a big conversation because hygienists live by a standard of patient care. Any tips on how to best clean around implants? And how do you deal with an office manager that micro manages?



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3 Answers

Many hygienists, including myself, feel the same way about plastic instruments and their efficacy in scaling implants. I feel they do nothing! Studies have shown that plastic instruments do the least damage to the implant structure, however they also have been shown to leave a residue which can cause peri-implantitis. My recommendation is to use a titanium implant scaler, especially if air polishing is out of the question. Hopefully your office manager can meet you in the middle here, and agree to getting you titanium scalers.
 
As far as an office manager that micromanages, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor when it comes to supply needs regarding patient care. Then the doctor can relay the message to the OM, as hopefully the OM won’t argue with the doctor. This is always a tough one because there’s really no way to change a person’s personality, only ways to work around it, which still is frustrating. It’s also frustrating that one person in the office can make a perfect office, not so perfect.
 
Here’s a good article that sites a study about plastic leaving residue: http://www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/print.aspx?id=16794

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I use the cavitron brand implant scaler.

This site also is a great source of information:

http://www.everythingdentalhygiene.com

Q: Our office recently purchased the “Gold” scalers for implants. Do you feel these are good/safe instruments?
A: There are a lot of questions about how to clean implants. I have a very simple way of thinking about the cleanliness of implants. It is very difficult to damage an implant surface and if you are getting to the surface of the implant and not just the crown, then there is a bigger problem than a little bit of plaque. Implant surfaces also don’t collect much in the way of debris anyway because of the surface smoothness. The bottom line that I would recommend is to use what you have and when you get around an implant, just be a bit more careful, but don’t be afraid of them.

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Thank you Kara! These are definitely some great suggestions and a place to start.

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