Sharpening dental instruments

Deppeler has developed a sharpening method that combines precision and simplicity, manually or with the help of the Easy Sharp Coach or the Easy Sharp Device. For the past ten years, Sabine Hofmann, Marketing Manager at Deppeler, has developed her sharpening skills and become an expert. In this article, she presents the best technique.

The right technique

From my early days at Deppeler, I realized the importance of the cutting edge of instruments and sharpening, but also how afraid users were, afraid to do wrong, or just not having time to do it properly, especially since it’s so hard to do it right. I myself had a mini-course of sharpening kitchen knives during my training at the Lausanne Hotel School and I also remember that it wasn’t easy.

Traditionally, dental professionals have learned to sharpen up and down, by fixing the instrument in one hand and moving the stone perpendicularly to the blade with the help of a guide attached to the edge of a table to indicate the angle (Fig. 1)

If we manage to maintain the angle, however, we risk creating facets and scratches perpendicular to the blade (Fig. 2 and 3). This makes the edge extremely aggressive, but the small teeth fall out very quickly and you need to re-sharpen more regularly. The defect is all the more accentuated if you use a very abrasive stone.

In the factory, our instruments are always sharpened along the blade and we can see very well the sharpening strokes (Fig. 4). This avoids not only the facets and spikes, but also burs that could fall into the gums and slow healing (Gorokovsky et al.).

Always along the blade

The Deppeler sharpening method is always done along the blade. The stone is fixed between the fingers and the instrument is moved along the stone while following the shape of the blade. The tip should look either up or down, depending on which side one wants to sharpen. Another landmark is that the handle must be perpendicular to the stone.

In order to have the right angle, the blade plate must be well adjacent to the stone. If we look closely, we see it and it gives us the exact angle, namely 20 degrees for the curettes and scalers, and 30 degrees for the Gracey.

Nevertheless, the angle remains a matter of an eye and if there is no indication It it’s not easy to be precise. That is why we’ve developed the Easy Sharp Coach, which gets clipped on the stone and thus gives the indication of the angle to be respected. The first shaft simply hides the angle and at the same time the tip must remain in the axis of the stone (fig. 5 and 6).

These coaches help with manual sharpening, take up little space and are light.

For even more precision and always keep sharpening along the blade, we have the Easy Sharp Device. This tool, which has been in existence for more than 30 years, allows for an unprecedented precision sharpening for all periodontology instruments. It is not automatic, the sharpening remains manual, but with great security. Like any mechanical device, it requires a little concentration to get started, but it also allows all the people in the practice to sharpen the same and thus to have instruments « like new » until the end of their life cycle.

As soon as the Deppeler sharpening method is used, with or without Easy Sharp Coach or Device, the life of the edges and instruments is greatly extended. Especially since a sharpening without engine remains a very controlled sharpening and removes much less material.

Tips and tricks

  1. Look at your tips with magnifying glasses, before and after sharpening, this will allow you to see the evolution and adapt or correct if necessary.
  2. If you’re unsure of the angle used or can’t find a sharp edge, mark your blades with a water-resistant pen. After 2-3 strokes, the color should disappear completely, if not, this will allow you to adjust the angle, until the color disappears in the most uniform way possible.
  3. There are different types of stones that need to be adapted to the king of sharpening you have to do:
    • Very abrasive stone (india, silicium carbide…): it allows to modify or correct the edges that are either very blunt or with very different angles, it is advisable to always finish with a stone as thin as possible.
    • Genuine translucent Arkansas stone: it is the stone of excellence, it is very thin and very hard so fine for a smooth surface condition for more efficiency. It’s almost unusable.
    • Ceramic stone: it is a very fine stone of good quality and works perfectly for regular sharpening, it gives a mirror surface state. Being ceramic, it wears out after a few years of use
    • Black Arkansas stone: this is a new stone that we have in the catalog to replace the ceramic stone. It is harder and remains very fine, it is clearly an intermediate quality stone between translucent Arkansas and ceramics.