Suction mirror, sharpening

Aug. 8, 2013
Do you have patients decline the use of power scaling because they feel like they're drowning? I once heard a patient say it felt like they were being "water-boarded."

by Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH

Hammer Head Suction Mirror by EMS Dental Designs Inc.

Do you have patients decline the use of power scaling because they feel like they're drowning? I once heard a patient say it felt like they were being "water-boarded." Do you struggle with visibility? Problem solved!

EMS Dental Designs Inc. recently introduced the Hammer Head suction mirror. Lee and Laura Emmons, hygienists and husband and wife, founded EMS Dental Designs Inc. in 2007. After five years of testing, modifying, and perfecting prototypes, they patented and debuted Lee's design for a new suction mirror in late 2012.


Other articles by Kim Miller


The Hammer Head suction mirror combines two essential pieces of equipment, mouth mirror and suction, into one easy to use device. Ten suction holes are around the mirror -- five on the back and five on the front. The five on the front are in direct contact with the reflective surface and keep water and debris off the mirror for improved visibility, which saves time and improves the quality of care. More importantly, the thorough evacuation of water keeps the patient comfortable, which in turn increases patient compliance for the use of ultrasonics.

The Hammer Head design deflects oral tissue away from the suction ports that makes it perfect for simultaneous retraction and suction. The manufacturer put the Hammer Head through its paces and clinically tested it in the following adverse conditions: thick cheeks and tongues, small mouth opening, distal of third molars, blood/saliva flow, and special needs patients. According to the manufacturer, in each of these conditions the Hammer Head outperformed other similar devices, making it the perfect adjunct for use during ultrasonic scaling procedures, irrigation with a medicament, and sealants.

The features and benefits stated by the manufacturer are:

  • Exceptional/consistent clear view during ultrasonic scaling/ sealants
  • Up to four times the suction volume capacity of others in its class
  • Strong/steady retraction device for thick tongues/cheeks
  • Design deflects oral tissue away from blocking suction ports
  • Efficiently removes pooling liquid on mirror face and in mouth
  • Replaceable #4 front surface rhodium coated mirror face
  • Light-weight ergonomic rotating adapter hose reducing fatigue
  • Easily adapts to High and Low volume suction systems
  • Long life, eco-friendly, stainless steel, fully sterilizable
  • Made in America and cost effective

Visit www.emsdentaldesigns.com and check out their videos of the Hammer Head in action. Try one for yourself today.

American Eagle XP Technology!

Are you like hundreds of other hygienists who either don't like to sharpen or simply can't find time to sharpen all of your instruments at least once a week as we should? The American Eagle XP Technology hand instruments may be right up your alley; they do not require re-sharpening for the life of the instrument. Hard to believe, isn't it? These instruments are fabricated with a patented surface engineering process to make that possible. According to American Eagle, XP instruments are in a class all their own with razor-sharp edges that stay sharp longer than any other carbon or stainless steel instruments available on the market.

The secret to XP Technology is in the treatment of the stainless steel during a cryogenic heat treat process. Using the highest quality stainless steel, American Eagle impregnates it to a depth of 4 microns with carbon for "super" hardness and titanium for flexibility, transforming it into a titanium nitride alloy. Since the XP needs no re-sharpening it comes out of the package thinner than stainless steel instruments, which have more bulk to allow for needed re-sharpening.

A slight modification in technique is required when using the XP line of scalers; however, this is a modification you will appreciate! Unlike stainless steel instruments, the XP requires a feather-light stroke with a light extended grasp. Very light lateral pressure against the tooth is all that is required, reducing wear and tear on your hand and wrist.

These instruments are so sharp they provide enhanced tactile sensitivity and, according to the manufacturer, fewer strokes and much less pressure are needed to scale away the deposits, saving time and energy. Old, worn out, dull or too thin instruments are often found on the hygiene tray. Our doctors would never use an old, worn out, dull bur to prep a tooth, yet we seem to hang on to our instruments way past their life span. According to Angie Stone, RDH, a consultant, "Worn out instruments cost practices money and have no place in hygiene treatment protocols." Angie goes on to list the benefits of high quality, sharp instruments:1

  • Increased productivity/efficiency
  • Ease of deposit removal
  • Increased patient comfort (dull instruments cause trauma)
  • Decreased chair time
  • Decreased operator hand/wrist injury
  • Decreased incidence of sharps events

I'm sure you'll agree that clinical dental hygiene is a mentally and physically demanding profession. Wouldn't it be nice if you could focus on your patients' needs and not worry about whether your instruments are sharp or so thin they might break? With sharp instruments comes the satisfaction of knowing, at the end of the day, you did a great job without the hand, wrist, arm, and neck pain using dull instruments can cause.

According to the manufacturer, XP Technology curettes and scalers have been used by clinicians all over the world and have received rave reviews for tactile sensitivity, handle size/diameter, operator comfort, blade sharpness/thickness, and their sharpen-free claim.

Visit www.am-eagle.com for more information about the XP technology.

Let me know what you think of your XP and the Hammer Head. Email me at [email protected] with your comments. RDH

KIM MILLER, RDH, BSDH, is the co-founder of PerioFrogz.com, an information-based website providing free current oral-systemic research summaries and patient education downloads. Kim is also a coach with Inspired Hygiene, delivering customized hands-on training. She speaks internationally, writes writes articles and webinars, and enjoys clinical dental hygiene. Kim lives in Arizona and welcomes you to contact her at [email protected].


(1) Angie Stone, RDH, BS, Consultant; Are your instruments working for you or are you working for them? Sally McKenzie's e-Management newsletter, May 2008 Issue #322

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