‘To this day I refuse to allow my Varios to leave my Hygiene suite as I doubt I would get it back!’ Dental hygienist Susan Hales explains why.
From the start of my career as a young dental nurse, until opening my own clinic 14 years later, I only had experience of using a Cavitron-type magnetostrictive ultrasonic scaler. It was what I had trained on, what every dentist I assisted used, and it naturally became my equipment of choice. I loved it, and would even choose my locum positions based on the availability of a Cavitron as opposed to a Piezo-type unit.
My first experience of using a Piezo was during my tenure with the Ministry of Defence in Germany, and it was one of the worst of my professional career. For me it was difficult to handle, risking tissue damage, caused hypersensitivity, and was incredibly noisy. With this particular position I had to see a large number of patients per session and needed to work at maximum efficiency, but the particular Piezo I had to work with slowed me down to a snail’s pace and mostly had me resorting to hand scaling.
Many clinicians would agree that hand scaling can be extremely time-consuming. It causes hand fatigue, there is continuous instrument re-selection and results in the end-of-session stain removal time being lost. There is no ability to use an antiseptic solution when hand scaling and personally I never feel a hand scale gives the best results. Calculus and plaque can be removed in a few strokes with a mechanical instrument – it can take twice as long with a hand instrument.
Setting up a dental clinic can be very expensive, but I refused to compromise on quality when it came to mine. However, when the opportunity arose to purchase top-of-the-range equipment from NSK at a price that was within my budget, I faced a dilemma. My experience of the Piezo in Germany had me vowing to never use one again, but here I was being offered the high specification NSK Varios 970 with optic lighting, and my decision to purchase is one I’ll never regret.
As it turns out, not all Piezos are anything like the same. I couldn’t believe the difference with the Varios for navigating with complete comfort and ease through my patients’ mouths, and how smooth and quiet it was. There was no discomfort for my patients, and no tension or apologising from me. I became an immediate convert.
What I really appreciate about the Varios is its versatility. It has a tip for every eventuality, such as tenuous calculus, heavy staining or deep pocketing, not to mention those available to a dentist for endodontics, prosthetics and restorative work.
My Varios came supplied with a large selection of tips and I soon found I was using them all. With the Cavitron I did have several inserts to choose from, but only ever used a couple on a daily basis as the others didn’t seem to be ergonomically practical and didn’t warrant the time it took to change them. With the Varios I have to change tips, as I know the correct tip makes such light work of the job in hand. I have general supragingival scaling tips for light to heavy calculus and a wide general scaling tip to easily tackle heavy stain removal. The long perio tips are unbelievably accurate and tactile, and because the Varios is so smooth in operation I can feel the smallest of subgingival debris with it.
Compatibility is key
It is important to use ultrasonic systems and tips from the same manufacturer as both the machine and tips have been designed and built to work together to give the optimum clinical results. This is something I have experienced working here in Kenya where it can sometimes be difficult to procure imported items exactly when you need them, meaning on occasion I have to use generic tips with my Varios. The experience may not seem too bad, if you had not previously used the specific NSK tips for comparison. If you had, you would certainly notice the difference!
Invest in the best
In my experience, one of the main challenges hygienists face when using ultrasonic scalers in practice is having to use equipment that has not been manufactured to perform to the highest standards, or to withstand the test of time. That is why I can’t recommend the Varios 970 highly enough in this regard.
Always try to invest in the very best equipment – it is a reflection on the work you do as a clinician. Patients cannot be expected to understand that poor equipment, such as my Piezo in Germany, or the wrong choice of tip can cause traumatic and ineffective results. They equate the sensitivity, tissue trauma, noise and discomfort to your skills as a clinician, not the quality of your equipment.
Using the right equipment in the way it was intended can only benefit you as a clinician, and most importantly, your patients. This is what a great reputation and job satisfaction is built upon.
About the author
Susan qualified from the Edinburgh Dental Institute in 2003 with a Diploma in Dental Hygiene from the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. She worked briefly as a locum in England, Wales and with the MoD in Germany before moving to Nairobi, Kenya, spending the next six years in private practice. Susan has now established her own successful dental clinic there – Skye Dental – and as well as hygiene services she employs GDPs, a dental implant specialist and specialist orthodontist. www.skyedental.co.ke
With a choice of over 70 tips, NSK is so confident hygienists and therapists will be delighted with the results achievable with the Varios 970 ultrasonic scaler that it’s offering a no-obligation 10 day ‘try before you buy’.
For more information contact NSK on 0800 634 1909 or your preferred dental dealer.