How to sharpen dental scalers and curettes

November 29, 2018
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.

If its true that youre only as good as your tools, its imperative that for the sake of your patients (and your veterinary practices bottom line), you keep your dental instruments at maximum efficiency. Dentistry expert Mary Berg is here to help.

Dental disease is a widespread problem among veterinary patients. Consequently, the practice of dentistry can play a pivotal role in your clinic's cash flow. To keep that crucial segment of medicine and business at its most productive, Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Mary Berg, BS, RVT RLATG, VTS (dentistry), says you need to keep your hand instruments sharpened for maximum efficiency.

To start, here are the materials you'll need: a flat Arkansas stone, a conical stone and sharpening oil. Berg also suggests having an acrylic stick or similar item to confirm the sharpness of the tools.

Sink your teeth into these dental resources:

Berg's method-adapted from “It's About Time,” the classic manual for maintaining human dental tools put out by the Hu-Friedy company-uses the face of a clock to establish angles for sharpening. As she demonstrates, the techniques are quick and easy.

"Realistically, it only takes a few seconds to sharpen your dental instruments if you keep them sharpened on a regular basis," Berg says.

She also points out that if you're not comfortable performing this upkeep on your own, it's possible to send your tools out to be serviced. Just be sure you keep enough instruments on hand for dental appointments scheduled in the meantime.

Watch the video for step-by-step instructions on keeping your scalers and curettes at their most effective.

And are you ready to take your elevators to the next level? Don't miss Berg's pointers for shapening dental elevators here.