Scary, nasty, and shocking

What does a hygienist purchase when he or she purchases a new dental scaler, explorer, probe, curette, or file? What thought process went into the creation of the instrument?

The author shares personal research into instrument retipping

By Emily Boge, RDH, BS

What does a hygienist purchase when he or she purchases a new dental scaler, explorer, probe, curette, or file? What thought process went into the creation of the instrument? What intricacies set that instrument apart from other instruments that can be perceived to “all do the same thing”? What happens when the standards of manufacturing these medical devices are breached, and the instrument is altered in shape, quality, balance, size, and materials? Do these changes affect the disinfection and sterilization standards our offices have in place to ensure the safety of our patients? These were my concerns as I dug deeper to find what I didn’t know about instrument retipping.

Hygienists know that the tactile sensitivity of the dental hand instrument reigns supreme for ensuring proper calculus removal both supra- and subgingivally. The FDA has set standards for the use of dental instruments as medical devices, and states an instrument is a medical device because it “is intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve its primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of any of its primary intended purposes.” Dental professionals should take every practical step in ensuring the sterile maintenance and handling of these instruments to protect the safety of their patients.

Sourced by RDH Magazine. Click here to see full stories

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