[SPONSORED] In this Test Drive, John Flucke, DDS, shares the experience he and his team had using the latest ultrasonic scaler from Parkell.
When I was young, my grandfather’s office had a sign with a quote from English philosopher John Ruskin: “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money—that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.”
That quote has stuck with me for my entire life. My grandfather, like John Ruskin, was a bit of a philosopher as well as a small business owner. He knew how to run a successful business. He taught me a lot, and I am frequently amazed at how much of his advice I apply to my own small business daily. Dentistry is a profession that requires precise and durable equipment, but as we all know, that equipment comes with a price tag. This even applies to your hygiene department.
When viewed from the perspective of the patient, the hygiene department is the practice’s gateway to clinical dentistry. For most patients, they spend more time with members of the hygiene team than they do with the doctor. You simply cannot understate the importance of the patient experience with the hygiene team. If a new patient with minimal restorative needs comes to a practice, their patient experience is principally linked to what they experience at their semiannual cleanings. They develop a relationship with their hygienist and that relationship leads to trust.
The trust factor is huge when it comes to clinical restorative diagnoses. When a patient builds a relationship with the hygienist, they are much more likely to follow treatment recommendations. That’s why codiagnosis between the doctor, the hygienist, and the patient is so important. Trust is not only built from the time the patient and hygienist spend together, but also from what the patient experiences during that time.
A patient approaches their hygiene visit with certain expectations, which may include getting questions answered, having concerns or fears allayed, and having a comfortable experience. However, for many patients, their No. 1 concern is leaving that visit with the wonderful feeling of their teeth and mouth being clean and fresh.
A large part of that hygiene experience comes from the ultrasonic scaler. As anyone who practices clinical dentistry can attest, the profession takes its toll on the human body. The art and science of performing quality prophylaxis is responsible for repetitive stress injuries to the hands, wrists, and fingers, which is why a quality ultrasonic scaler is one of the best purchases a doctor can make for the hygiene department. The hygienist benefits because they put less stress on their upper extremities, and the patient benefits because the ultrasonic scaler is more efficient, induces less sensitivity, and the energy helps lyse the cell wall of pathogens.
Ultrasonic scalers are valuable pieces of the hygiene armamentarium; however, they come with a price. That’s when John Ruskin comes to the rescue. It is unwise to pay too much, so how about paying less and getting all the quality you want and need? That is what my team has experienced as we have worked with the TurboSensor®+ Ultrasonic Scaler from Parkell.
I’ll gladly admit I have a penchant for top-of-the-line hardware, which transfers over to my purchases for the hygiene team. We’ve used the most expensive ultrasonic scalers on the market, and the team has been happy with them. However, they also understand me pretty well, and they know that if I get a chance to try something out, we are going to do that. So, we brought in the TurboSensor+ Ultrasonic Scaler and put it through its paces.
I have 6 hygienists on staff, and they have tons of experience. Many of them have been practicing for over 20 years, whereas my least experienced team member graduated in 2016. My point is that these women have seen and done it all. They also understand that when I am testing products, I need honest and critical answers.
One of the nice things about the TurboSensor+ is its small size. This unit will not require you to sacrifice a lot of your counter space. Its small size also means it is easy to move. For a doctor on a budget, that means transferring the unit from one room to another is simple, so you can buy 1, then purchase more as the need arises. For my team, it meant we could easily move it to give every hygienist ample time to use and experiment with it—and use it they did!
The unit is impressive. Designed for use with 30 KHz tips, it is compatible with inserts from all major manufacturers. The device features a new IntelliSense™ processor that delivers consistent performance with any 30 KHz tip.
The detachable handpieces are autoclavable, which eliminates the need for sleeves and allows the entire handpiece to be sterilized. The handpieces have held up well throughout cycle upon cycle in our autoclaves, and the quick-lock connector makes it simple to attach and detach them from the unit. Their texture allows for a good grip and tactile feedback, which has also remained throughout our testing range.
The TurboSensor+ also makes purging of the unit simple and efficient with safeguards that help prioritize infection control best practices. The unit will not start purging unless the handpiece is disconnected in order to make sure a sterilized handpiece isn’t contaminated during the purge. The entire process can be started and controlled with the foot pedal as well.
One of the handiest features is the quick, easy jump to turbo mode. It is not uncommon during treatment for the operator to come across an area with particularly tenacious calculus. For those instances, rather than stopping and performing manual adjustment of the power settings, the device allows the operator to do a hard press of the rheostat, which ramps up the power to turbo mode. This not only makes treatment easier but also makes the operator more efficient. The hard press feature allows the hygienist to keep their eyes on the target, which is better for everyone. Looking away, making the necessary power adjustment, getting repositioned to the treatment site, removing the tenacious calculus, then repeating the process in reverse is inefficient and time-consuming. No one wants a dental appointment to last longer than necessary.
During standard procedures, the unit allows for full customization of the power to the tip, as well as the water delivery. This allows the hygienist to get things dialed in to their favorite and desired parameters while providing the patient with a comfortable appointment.
The other highly desirable feature is, of course, the price. As a company, Parkell has existed since 1948—and a business doesn’t survive that long unless it does things the right way. Dentistry is a close-knit community in both the clinical and business sides of the industry. The profession demands quality goods for the benefit of our patients. Parkell has developed a reputation of not only quality goods but also of delivering that quality at a very reasonable price. The TurboSensor+ Ultrasonic Scaler is just another example of that. The company initially brought their line of ultrasonic scalers to the market in 2003. This line of products has a long history of innovation and dependability. In my office, we expect a lot from an ultrasonic scaler, and the TurboSensor+ unit has delivered. My team loves it, and I’m confident yours will, as well.