Published on January 01-27-21

Finally, An Ergonomic Scaler That’s More Than a Buzzword

Harmony Scalers

How We Used 2.8 Million Data Points to Advance Dental Ergonomics 

There is a lot of talk about ergonomics in the world of dental hygiene. No wonder: working with hand and power instruments can take its toll. According to a systematic review of the literature, nearly 70% of registered dental hygienists experience some sort of hand, wrist, and/or arm pain.

Instruments that can reduce the strain on muscles, joints, and bones are the key to increased productivity, longer careers, and, most of all, less pain and fatigue. However, often there is no factual evidence to support the ergonomic benefits of an instrument.  

That’s why when we set out to design a new line of ergonomic scalers – what would eventually be called our Harmony™ Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes – we wanted to approach the challenge differently. We wanted to know what ergonomics really meant for practitioners. 

Our goal: To quantify the ergonomic properties of a dental instrument and use that data to design an instrument that significantly reduced the strain of clinicians.

With the new Harmony™ Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes, we did both. Let us walk you through the rigorous testing process.

2.8 Million Reasons to Believe 

To design a genuinely ergonomic scaler, we first needed to understand what key factors contribute to musculoskeletal disorders among hygienists. While scaling involves small micro-motions, these fine movements adds up over the days, months, and years. Because scaling is a fine motor skill, the sensitivity of the testing equipment was critically important. We partnered with global leading technology firms to custom design a device that would:

  • Adapt to all users’ grasps, as well as all scaler designs.
  • Not interfere with the practitioners or the instruments being tested.
  • Allow our engineers to create an iterative development process.
  • Help us grow and build a database for ergonomic applications.

What our team came up with was TrueFit™ Technology. The TrueFit™ Technology system consists of two main components: four finger sensors (which resemble a thin glove) that record pinch force (the pressure required to hold an manipulate an instrument with your hand) and a typodont outfitted with a six-axis force/torque sensors to record the pressure applied to the tooth.

The TrueFit™ Technology system recorded 40 measurements per second from every sensor in the system. All this information fed into a custom software system that analyzed and interpreted the pinch force that hygienists exerted during scaling and the pressure applied to a patient’s tooth.

Enabled by the revolutionary TrueFit™ Technology, our team undertook a rapid prototype development process, similar to that used in software engineering. Starting with a gamut of handles currently available on the market, we gathered data and applied it to a range of innovative new design concepts. These different handle designs helped establish comparison points for iterative development. We kept the features that tested well and discarded those that performed poorly.

Over 50 hygienists spanning continents and countries participated in the testing, and we partnered with a third-party analytics firm to review and analyze the data collection. By the completion of the project, we had gathered over 2.8 million data points. Click here review the data for yourself.

Confidence in Your Hand  

Compared to other “ergonomic” scaler designs from leading instrument manufacturers, the Harmony™ Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes reduce pinch force up to 65%, and reduce the pressure applied to the tooth by up to 37% (which your patients are sure to appreciate).

The Harmony™ Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes achieve these amazing strain-minimizing results through a combination of features:

  • The durable metal handle, which features a recessed double-helix texture, is designed for optimal tactile sensitivity and to reduce tactile fatigue. (Your tactile sensitivity of the tooth surface will diminish less over extended use.)
  • A silicone grip extended 30%, allowing a secure and nimble grasp while using the instrument. The geometric pattern is specifically designed to maximize grip in all directions.
  • An organic, round shape designed to roll smoothly in the fingers, potentially alleviating hand fatigue and injuries from repetitive motion.
  • A 20% increase in width WITHOUT an increase in weight.

Harmony™ Scalers and Curettes also feature our EverEdge™ 2.0 Technology. With EverEdge™ 2.0 Technology, working ends are 72% sharper out-of-the-box than the next leading competitor and 50% sharper after 500 strokes. Sharp scalers require less pressure to accomplish the same amount of work, creating more comfort for you and your patients.

Taking a Hand in the Fight Against Fatigue and Strain

When you apply force repetitively and over time, inflammation occurs in your muscles and tendons. The higher the force, the quicker your muscles become fatigued. Eventually, nerve damage and disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome may set in.

By reducing the pinch force, you must apply to a scaler, you can reduce the likelihood of injury. And the less pain you have, the more satisfied you’ll be at work.

We ran our findings by two unaffiliated occupational therapists.  They told us, “By using the new Harmony™ Scaler, a reduction of biomechanical stress on fingers and hands will occur compared to other available scalers on the market.”

To sum up, the outcome of all our research, testing, and development is a happier, more comfortable, more productive workday for you as a clinician. That translates into:

  • Decreased onset of hand disorders.
  • Less muscle fatigue.
  • Fewer worker’s compensation claims.
  • A boost in efficiency.
  • A potentially longer and more fulfilling career.

Clinicians agree. Take a look at what others are saying about Harmony™ Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes.

“I could feel the difference in my grasp the first time I scaled with a Harmony™ Scaler.”

         - Tami Wanless RDH, MED

“While using the new Harmony™ Ergonomic Scaler with sharp EverEdge™ 2.0 Cutting Edges, I have great tactile sensitivity and I feel a perceptible decrease in pinch force and pressure required for effective calculus removal.”

          - Anna Pattison RDH, MS

The Harmony™ Ergonomic Scalers and Curettes are now available in 30 of our best-selling sickle scalers, universal curettes, and Gracey curettes. Learn how to scale in Perfect Harmony!