Do you want to see a secret video of one dental hygiene instrument killing another? Sure you do.
But first, a confession: It’s not really secret. This video has been on YouTube since May of 2013 but as of the time I’m writing this it’s had less than a thousand views. I find it to be pretty scathing.
How can a video about dental curettes be scathing?
Because it challenged my opinion about my beloved Hu-Friedy instruments, that’s how.
As hygienists, we’ve been taught to “click” calculus deposits off of teeth. If you have a traditional stainless steel instrument, it needs to be sharp so that it can dig into the deposit, right? Right.
There’s sharp, and there’s hard. Sharpness is what gets you “clicking” the calculus off. Hardness is… well, it can shift your whole method of
OMG YOU WANT ME TO SHAVE WHAT? instrumentation.
We’ll get back to shaving and being hard in a little bit. (!) What I want you to do now though is to watch the video below so that you can understand the rest of this post (just please ignore the first 40 seconds of suck):
And why does this matter now? These two curettes, one made by American Eagle Instruments and the other by Hu-Friedy, are apparently in direct competition with one another, and Hu-Friedy is making a big stink about the claim that American Eagle’s instruments are sharper.
“Mine are sharper!”
“No, Mine are!”
It’s like that. You can pretty much ignore both sides, and take the marketing for what it is. LOOK AT MY SHINY NEW STUFF IT’S THE BEST (i love youuuuu).
Whatever. Especially the I Love You part. So, you remember Nevi 4, right? – the Traveling Plushie Scaler?
No, I will NOT be posting the photos from that crazy after-party thing that happened with all Nevi’s friends – you know, the Travelocity roaming gnome, Chester Cheetah, the Noid, Stefon from SNL, yeah, that crowd – because I’m not going to give you blackmail material on me like that. But I did just make you look at a picture of my cutsie wootsie doggies, aren’t they just the most adorable schnauzers ever?
So yes, I understand the loyalty thing we’re supposed to have with a company like Hu-Friedy that respects hygienists and is nice to us and is the market leader and the oldest in the business. But sometimes, a product comes along that is actually different enough to give it a chance.
I’m going to say it. I think harder is better. (shut up, the person who just muttered “you would.”)
Step to the left, Nevi plushie. You have your soft place in the world, and American Eagle XP has its place as well.
What I’ve noticed with using the XP instruments and their hard coating is that the texture of calculus feels really different. Like, it’s softer. Like, I don’t click it off. I shave it off.
Shaving teeth instead of scaling? It’s really, really weird, but I like it. Who ever thought that you could slice through calculus like you’re carving a turkey? But it feels like that. Instead of biting off the whole chunk of tartar at once, the XP technology lets you lighten up your touch in an entirely different way than you do with even the sharpest stainless steel instrument.
Now, there is a down side to owning American Eagle XP instruments over traditional stainless steel ones – you have to baby them a little more because they can bang up against each other and shorten their lives. That part irks me, of course, because not only do I not want to have to put my instruments in cassettes, I don’t want to ever have to sharpen them either like you do with the Hu-Friedy EverEdge. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle.
And yeah, there’s that “sharp” thing again.
According to the study that was released yesterday by Hu-Friedy, compared to American Eagle XP instruments the Hu-Friedy EverEdge instruments will always be sharper. Also they launched the claim that XP instruments wear out faster because they aren’t able to be sharpened.
Does this mean Hu-Friedy is fighting back?
Well good then. That means they’re probably feeling threatened by a smaller, newer company, and competition is better for progress. It’s good for us because it means that we get to evaluate free instruments from both Hu-Friedy and American Eagle. And good for dental hygiene as a whole, too, because you’re not going to let a little emotion of loyalty get in the way of some good old-fashioned brawling to win your business. You’re free to explore all your options.
Let the metal shavings fly, and you know what they say about having competition, right? Steel sharpens steel. Iron sharpens iron.
And may we all have better instruments for it.
A blogger since 1997, Trish Walraven, RDH, BSDH is a practicing dental hygienist in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and marketing manager for BlueNote Communicator, software that keeps dentists running on time for their hygiene checks. She’s having to take back the “harder is better” comment now with her new mattress. Oops.
Hu-Friedy Commissions Independent Study to Evaluate Scaler Sharpness:
RDH Magazine: No More Dull Instruments!
The Uncoated Truth:
RDH Magazine: How instruments increase productivity
That was cool, right? The shaving thing? Be sure to share this video with everyone that didn’t realize that SHAVING is what XP is all about.