Sharpening materials for dental instruments
The correct utensils for optimal sharpening results
Sharpening dental instruments correctly
AE SA CC/F
Simply Sharp Ceramic Stone
8,9 x 2,5 cm
Upper side: coarse abrasive surface with groove
Lower side: finer removal side without groove
Rounded edges for curettes and for deburring all instruments
The groove is used to sharpen the front rounding of curettes
AE SA CCS
Ceramic Stone Super
AE SA DS
10,1 x 2,5 cm
AE SA STP
Sharpening Test Stick (6ct pack) – AE SA STP
Sharpening Test Stick (single) – AE SA STS
AE SA MEL
Simply Sharp Lupe
Frequently asked questions about sharpening dental instruments
Very fine Arkansas stones must be moistened with grinding oil. They often differ slightly in their tint, but this does not denote a difference in quality. Arkansas natural stones are recommended for regular sharpening with little material removal.
The more abrasive variants – for example, India – are usually synthetic and must also be used with oil or water. Such stones are only suitable for “emergencies” as they remove a disproportionate amount of material.
Diamond whetstones have peculiar characteristics. The less abrasive variants can be used together with oil for regular resharpening.
The shape of the stone also plays a role. For scalers and curettes, we recommend having a conical or tapered version available for deburring the facial surface. Variants with grooves can be used for surgical instruments or excavators.
When it comes to sharpening oil, material compatibility is important – manufacturers usually offer their own product. Medical white oil has also proven its worth.
Periodontal instruments need to be sharpened regularly. If an instrument is already too blunt, the correct geometry and a sharp cutting edge can no longer be produced. Therefore, always check the sharpness of the instruments after sterilisation.
Firstly, a visual assessment of the instrument is carried out – if the cutting edge is shiny, the instrument is blunt. It is also helpful to use a plastic test stick, which does not add further wear to the cutting edge.
Tilt scalers and universal curettes by about 20 degrees – you can check the sharpness by the “bite” or a slight “ding”. If the instrument just slides across the surface, it may already be too late – or high time for sharpening.
Gracey curettes do not need to be manually tilted for testing; align the terminal shank parallel to the test stick.
You should replace the instruments at the latest when one of the following criteria is met:
- The functionality is no longer guaranteed – for example, a curette has become a scaler.
- About 20% of the material has already been removed. After that, the risk of an instrument fracture increases significantly.
- The instruments are ground with, for example, several cutting edges.
The replacement is primarily for the protection and well-being of your patients. Tips that are too thin break very easily. If the working end is worn out, the patient is subjected to too much pressure and your ergonomics as a practitioner also suffer considerably. You can find more information on the subject of sharpening instruments and ergonomics in our instrument guide.
The preferred and safest method of instrument sharpening is sharpening with a vice; this allows you to align and fix the instrument perfectly.
Instruments with XP Technology® must never be sharpened. This would only wear away the super-hard alloy of the working ends and ruin the instrument tips. The particularly hard surface treatment of the instrument blades makes the instruments much more durable and wear-resistant. Time-consuming sharpening of instruments is thereby eliminated. Learn more about XP Technology®.