How to sharpen dental elevators with a smile

January 16, 2019
Mary L. Berg, BS, RVT, RLATG, VTS (dentistry)

Mary L. Berg, BS, RVT, RLATG, VTS(Dentistry) is a Charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians and received her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Dentistry in June 2006. Mary is currently serving as the treasurer of the AVDT and the American Society of Veterinary Dentistry. She is the past president of the KVTA and a member at large of the NAVTA board. Mary worked in research for more than 22 years, specializing in products aimed at improving oral health of companion animals. She was the practice manager and dental technician specialist at Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas, for more than seven years and is currently the president of Beyond the Crown Veterinary Education, a veterinary dental consulting service. She and her husband Doug live on a farm near Lawrence, Kansas, with a menagerie of animals.

Technician specialist Mary Berg is back to share another tip on veterinary dentistry.

Elevators, like scalers and curettes, are another of the essential dentistry tools that are at their most effective when kept very sharp. Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Mary Berg, BS, RVT RLATG, VTS (dentistry), is here to help you keep them that way. She says, as with those other instruments, the materials you'll need are simple: an Arkansas flat, a conical stone, oil and an acrylic strip.

Mind the bevel

Every elevator has a beveled edge that you want pay special attention to. Holding the instrument as you would when performing an extraction (index finger controlling the working end) and at a 45-degree angle to the stone, simple draw a smile.

Guide to dental instruments

Just Smile: A veterinary dental instrument sharpening guide.

Idea Exchange: A novel way to sharpen winged dental elevators.

Dental drill: Test your instrument wisdom.

Get in the groove

Once you've sharpened the business end, you want to ensure against burrs. To do this, place your conical stone in the groove in move in the direction shown. This also serves to sharpen the wings of the elevator.

A similar method can be used on periosteal elevators: Make a smile and use the conical stone to remove burrs.

Mary has a word of advice: Let staff know when you have freshly sharpened instruments as it will make the procedure at hand better and faster.

Watch the video for more.