plastic test sticks

Used to check the sharpness of curettes.
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Used to check the sharpness of curettes. The sharp curette will bite when used on the test stick at the angle used on the tooth. If it slips, it is not sharp. How to keep your dental instruments (and vets) happy in a couple of minutes a day! Go on, admit it, when was the last time you sharpened your dental hand instruments? This includes luxators & elevators, as well as curettes. Sharp instruments obviously work better, cutting down on hand fatigue and doing their job more effectively, but it is often the case that you do not a realise how blunt the old ones are until you get a new one! The best way to maintain a sharp edge on your instruments is to sharpen regularly – ideally at the end of an operating session, a minute or two with a sharpening implement will tidy them up. If yours are very blunt, they are better professionally sharpened to get them back up to ‘scratch’, then maintain the edge. There is a range of sharpening tools available. You will need both curved and flat surfaces for dental instruments, so look for something with a combination of shapes, for example our white slipstone (code 012150) or have 2 tools e.g. our Diamond Cone (code 012148) which can accommodate curves with different radii, and the Diamond Card (code 012144). It is also possible to use a fine Arkansas stone or oilstone but this gets messy as the lubricant is oil as opposed to water on the slipstone & diamond tools. Preparation • Before sharpening look at the angle of the cutting tip you are about to sharpen. The aim of sharpening is to maintain the same degree of bevel as was on the instrument originally, not to change the shape. • Lubricate your chosen sharpener. Repeat as necessary during sharpening. This reduces heat produced during sharpening, and keeps dust and metal filings down. • Use appropriate personal protective equipment – safety goggles are best. Sharpening produces fine metal filings which are usually trapped in the lubricating solution but you really do not want to risk getting them in your eyes! Occasionally weak instruments may fracture & produce flying fragments. How to test sharpness? Visual method – Look down directly on the sharp edge of the instrument, ideally with magnification. If light reflects on the cutting edge, it is blunt. A sharp edge will appear as a black line. Using a test stick - To test sharpness with a plastic test stick, apply the cutting edge to the stick at the angle it is used normally, and evaluate the “bite” as the edge takes hold. If there is not a “bite,” i.e. the instruments slides on the stick, the instrument needs sharpening. Dental Curettes An excellent guide to curette sharpening can be found on the Hu-Freidy website. Download a copy of the Instrument Reference Guide from Sharpening Swedish Luxators These luxators have very fine blades which are easily damaged if used incorrectly. Use the stone provided with the luxators. Lubricate with water Hold the stone firmly, hold the curved surface of the luxator onto the stone at about a 40 degree angle – match the existing angle on the instrument. Stroke firmly away, lifting the luxator at the end on the stroke and returning to the start point. Sharpening Elevators Elevators are sharpened on a flat surface, on the BACK of the tip. The aim is to maintain the correct bevel on the tip. Place the lubricated sharpening surface on a worktop and hold in place. Position the elevator at about 40 degrees (check the existing bevel and match this) and stroke away, lifting and returning to the start point after each stroke. Finally – clean all sharpening surfaces before lubricant dries to avoid clogging of the surface with fine debris.