The Life of An Instrument
March 12, 2024 at 4:00 AM
by Kathleen Bokrossy
<strong><span style="color:rgba(178, 150, 199, 1)">The Life of An Instrument</span></strong>

Thank you to those who went to PDC in Vancouver last week and stopped by the Curion booth to meet Beth and I, and the BioGaia booth to meet Kerry! We had a fabulous conference! It is always so nice to meet up with friends, colleagues and members at these conferences. It's a reminder of how grateful I am that I chose this profession, way back when.

The LM-Dental Instruments were a hit at the Curion Booth. We had live demonstrations and introduced the new instrument designs that have been added to the Sharpen-Free line. The M23 Slim, Nevi I and 2 in particular.

The M23 is a popular instrument in the US and in Europe and we think that it is going to be a popular one in Canada. Especially now, since we have the Slim option.

We had dental hygienists returning to the show to purchase the Sharpen-Free after last purchasing at PDC 2023. I always like to hear how long the Sharpen-Free last, so when I see people coming back one year later and ordering more, it confirms what we already know about the life of an instrument.

We always get asked, "How long will the Sharpen-Free last?"

The answer to this question is this. It depends on many things. What kind of patients are you treating? Are you using ultrasonics 80% of the time? How many kits do you have? If you only have 3-4 kits and using them twice a day, you will go through your instrument faster than those who are set up with 8 kits to last throughout the day. How many instruments are in your kit? How are your patients presenting? Are you in a practice where the majority of patients are using power versus manual? There are many factors to consider.

They should last you as long as your regular instruments would last.

But here is the thing. Most dental practices use instruments longer than their intended use. This is a problem in most practices.

In many offices, purchasing instruments is an event. It should be part of your annual budget.

I do talk a lot about instruments because I believe they are fundamental to everything we do. We can't perform high quality care without high quality tools. We can't provide safe, effective and ethical care while using worn out instruments. That is why I am passionate about educating and empowering dental hygienist to approach the decision makers and order instruments on an annual basis.

So, let's use LM-Dental as an example to set up what an annual budget could look like. You can use this concept no matter what instrument brand you purchase. Curion is the Canadian Distributor for LM-Dental and is offering a show special. 20% off instruments (With the Ergosense Handles) and with every 5 purchased, you will receive an LM ErgoSense mirror handle and a Servo 8 Cassette!

So, let's say you were purchasing 8 kits with 5 instruments (regular scalers and curettes). That is 40 instruments for $80. That is $3200 for the year. Divide that by how many weeks you work in the year. In this case, I am going to say 52 weeks as I will assume a temp is in while I am away. Then divide by how many patients per week. In this case I am going to say 35. Essentially your instruments are costing $1.75 per patient.

When you have this information, you can use this when putting together your proposed instrumentation budget. And if you get the green light to go ahead, you will only need to do this once and ensure that you now have an annual budget.

Think about the size of the blades and the use that they are going through, each and every day, and on every patient. Assuming you should get 2-3 years is not best practice. If you use the instruments that you need to sharpen, chances are they are being sharpened by a variety of people, edges are becoming bevelled, and they are being used beyond the intended use.

I have been in the dental instrument business for a very long time. I have owned my own instrument company and my own line. We were in 10 dental hygiene schools across the country and have helped thousands of offices with their instrument needs. I did sell that company but along the way I have seen what is out there. It is time to not compromise. Not for one patient. As one patient will turn into one week, one month, and one year, etc. Think of your patient's health and the experience that they receive when worn-out dull instruments are used on them. We do so much to attract new patients to our practice. We spend money on advertising and do everything we can to create a great experience and then we can wreck all that by not investing $1.75 per patient. We also know the havoc worn instruments play on our health as well!

I have lots to add to this conversation!

I hope this empowers some of you who can relate to this. I have included the Instrument Worksheet and Proposal that you can use to create your case and be prepared so that you can arrange a meeting and have this discussion with the decision makers.

For those of you who are from a different country outside of Canada, you can visit the LM-Dental website to find out who your distributor is.

I am holding an online Sharpen Your Skills workshop on Friday, March 22 from 11am - 2pm EST so our western members can join in. I would love for you to join me. You will learn how to sharpen instruments and I will introduce you to some Sharpen-Free ones as well. I will share tips on how to get the instruments in your practice and will cover the worksheet and proposal found below (as a download).

For those of you who are a part of the All Access Virtual Pass, we are including this in your pass and a separate email will be sent to you for registration. You will just need to purchase the sharpening kit (if you wish).

Thank you for your support and for reading! Please take a look below for upcoming live streaming courses, events, hands-on courses, career postings and our partner specials.

Have a great week!


Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH ~ President