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So You Think You Can Scale

by Madalyn Rosenbluth / Postscript by: Susan P. Burzynski, RDH, MSEd

We have all watched some of the reality shows … American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance? … that are so popular these days. Some of us love them and some of us can leave them, especially early on in the season, but there is no doubt that we all enjoy the end-of-season talent that is developed with the help of coaches and countless hours of rehearsal. It’s the progression of talent with practice … just like our own reality show — the art of performing debridement on our patients.

This is your career. You are a professional clinician who performs preventive oral hygiene procedures. How proficient do you wish to become? Do you want to be the best? Do you have a coach? Are you continually striving to progress in your talent and techniques? Are you willing to exercise repetition for perfection?

The ultrasonic unit along with our inserts are our essential instruments in performing debridement. Articles on ultrasonic scaling are too numerous to count, so why is this article different? Because this one is going to get you moving with precision and purpose. Just like the dancer, vocalist, or musician, every artist must know the basic skills to go on to become a great performer.

You will gain practical information and basic moves that, with practice, will help you progress in your everyday performance, and your patients will love and applaud you!

What unit do you use? Know your equipment. Is it magnetostrictive or piezo? 25k, 30k, or a dual-frequency unit? Is it an automatic or tunable unit? Knowledge of your unit’s qualities is essential in your usage of them. Many of us don’t know anything about what we are using to generate unparalleled power inside our patients’ mouths. There are optimum ways of operating along with tip choices depending on your specific unit. Take a hands-on class in ultrasonic instrumentation to use various units and insert/tips to discover how to maximize your unit’s full potential and explore other options in the world of ultrasonic generators.

Is the unit in good working order? Do you have it tuned up every couple of years for optimum performance? You have your car serviced more than your unit and yet you put fewer demands on your car.

What condition is your handpiece in? Is it leaking, are wires exposed, curled up and dried out, or crushed? Handpieces transfer electrical energy and water to provide power and irrigation to our ultrasonic inserts and tips. Handpieces have to be in excellent working order so that our scaling is safe, effectual, and comfortable not only for our patients but for us. They need to be rebuilt or replaced every few years as the internal wiring and lines become twisted and dried out from usage. How about those swivel handpieces? They are a great innovation by DENTSPLY/Cavitron as they take the twist out of your work and prevent damage to the handpiece assembly. Is one in your future?

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