Mind your business, mind your instruments: Gaining the Zen and keeping it

January 13, 2015

Previously, we found our Zen through the right instrumentation that suits the needs and desires of you as well as all the great gums you are gardening on a daily basis. You have learned the tools to get you towards therapy bliss through instrumentation. Now, how about how to take it to the next level and be a great business partner with your employer to acquire these awesome accoutrements?

Previously, we found our Zen through the right instrumentation that suits the needs and desires of you as well as all the great gums you are gardening on a daily basis. You have learned the tools to get you towards therapy bliss through instrumentation. Now, how about how to take it to the next level and be a great business partner with your employer to acquire these awesome accoutrements?

Recently, I read a great blog entry by Happiness Coach Andrea Reiser about living your truth. The compelling message in living your truth is empowering yourself and knowing your worth/truth. You cannot start down this path of Zen if you don’t start with believing and empowering you.

So we will start here: You are worthy of the necessary equipment that you need to perform the licensed healthcare treatment this patient has contracted you to execute. You are a licensed professional and your state maintains the confidence in you to make prudent decisions in delivering your care. Period.

Here’s what is so challenging and, at times, not so blissful: Dentistry is still largely a cottage industry. Many of us experience a familial relationship dynamic with our work team and employers. At times, we may approach the crucial business discussions in a way we would approach it with a family member or spouse/partner.  So let’s switch gears and give you the skills to get your power on!

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What’s the realistic life span of the prospective purchase?

Did you know that the life span of your BFF 204S scaler-yes, your wingman-is on average 9-12 months for medical grade stainless steel (source: Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co.,LLC)?

Add in metal technological advances that prolong the resharpening experience and you can add months to this estimate. Of course, this is dependent on the use and abuse the instruments endure and the frequency of that stress occurrence. Basically, every time a metal edge is engaged in contact with a hard surface brings it a moment closer to the need to resharpen. So, if you are more apt to grab the 204S scaler than the power scaler of your choice, the 204S you use may be different than the hygienist down the street.

Here’s the math to determine use:

Number of uses per week (X) times the number of useful work weeks (Y)=annual useful lifespan

*the number of useful work weeks will vary according to the instrument manufacturer

This math logic will apply to your piezo and magnetostrictive tips also.

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Doing the homework

Now that you know how long your useful lifespan is---which may be different than what you initially thought or even your office’s purchase schedule!-it’s time to do your homework. Research pricing and purchase opportunities available through your distributor of choice. Understand what you are paying for and how it influences the cost per use and overall treatment experience. For instance, if a metal technology extends the scaling /resharpening experience and decreases your scaling time, this will affect overhead for the office. The time and overhead savings may be worth a few more pennies per use and extend the repurchase point.

Now you will need to conduct a fact based instrument audit. Look at the instruments you are using to determine where they are in their lifespan. Are they ready to transition to a pediatric kit due to wear? Are they ready for recycling and a new life as an appliance part? Compare your instrument to your newest/best conditioned instrument as a master example.

Also, do a bit a research into what is the office spending annually on these consumables. How often are these purchases being made? Is there a budget? If not, it’s a great consideration!

More from Danielle Victoriano: Discovering your Zen within your instrumentation

Present the business case for investing

Now it’s time to present your findings! Explain the facts: purchase history, average dollars spent, instrument audit findings, cost per use and the purchase opportunity. Don’t forget to factor in redemption items into the purchase cost breakdown. For instance, if a scaler’s retail cost is $38. You take advantage of a purchase 12, get two free offer. This breaks down the price per scaler to $32.57! This may make your case get the green light!

Once you gain success and get empowered on the road to work nirvana, keep your hand instruments on track with a regular sharpening program and using efficiency guides for your power scaling tips. A little housekeeping keeps the Zen right where you need it---at your fingertips!

Interested in one on one advice? Ever wished you could share those questions that seem to evade you? Want some clarification on something your read or heard about? Send in your questions for the Coaches!

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About the author

Danielle A. Victoriano, RDH, BS, MHS is the Regional Account Manager serving LA/MS/Gulf Coast Panhandle. Formally, she served as the Product Manager for Scaler Accessories, where she used her clinical and educational expertise to develop scaling and sharpening products, as well as supportive materials and presentations for clinicians, educators, and students alike. Her experience includes clinical dental hygiene for the past 20 years, as well as instruction in all areas of dental hygiene -with emphasis in instrumentation, instrument design, sharpening and implant dentistry during her 8 years in dental hygiene education. She has lectured nationally and internationally on the topics of sharpening, periodontal instrumentation, and implant dental hygiene.