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Better, cheaper, faster

8 August 2014

Better, cheaper, faster

Michael Sultan talks about what it takes to change your instruments

Throughout my career I have developed a strong working relationship with particular products and brands. Like many others, when I am used to a certain way of working, I like to stick to it.

Over the years there have been many competing instruments and they all claim to be better and faster than the ones I use. But for me to change, switching from the instruments that I have developed such a strong working relationship with, surely they would need to be better, faster and cheaper.

But, in such a competitive market, is anything ever really cheaper? The manufacturers all look over their shoulder at what the competition is charging, and so inevitably similar products will all cost similar amounts. For instance, for many years I have used a certain brand of nickel titanium instrument, but when a new single file system was in development it would have cost the same as the old five file system, so why would I consider changing?

Of course, manufacturers are very good at saying their instrument A is superior to instrument B, but when we are experienced in the use of a particular product, we know how best to use it for the optimum results. Indeed years of practise using a certain technique mean that we eventually come to master it.

As for those products that offer faster working times, arguably what we want now is to be going slower. The time to prepare a canal for instance is so quick that unless an extraordinarily long time is spent washing out and cleaning it, we are actually wasting the time. Really irrigants want to be in for half an hour or so, therefore if an instrument claims to be faster then there is no great advantage.

With all this in mind, it’s really going to take a lot to change my instruments. But what exactly would that be? And how should a manufacturer get somebody new using their system?

Recently I attended a hands-on course for a new product where I was very well looked after. I was taught by an expert instructor, an Italian professor of endodontics, and was shown exactly what to do. I was very impressed, to the extent that now, after nearly 15 years I am contemplating changing my system.

On course I listened intently to what the professor said and then did everything that I knew I shouldn’t. I cut canals dry, too fast, and stressed the instruments as much as I could, and yet not one of them broke. As the instruments I currently use can fracture under stress I was immediately impressed, and the fact that they have gone out of their way to wine me, dine me and educate me has meant that I will be spending a significant amount over the coming years on what I see as an improvement.

Of course, the brand familiarity and relationship with the initial product was important, but as professionals we must always be aware of changes and advancements, no matter how painful that might be, either financially or through learning to use new instruments.

Manufacturers will always claim that their products are better, faster and cheaper than the competition, but that is not always the best way to get us to change.


For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

Or visit

Dr Michael Sultan BDS MSc DFO FICD is a Specialist in Endodontics and the Clinical Director of EndoCare. Michael qualified at Bristol University in 1986. He worked as a general dental practitioner for 5 years before commencing specialist studies at Guy’s hospital, London. He completed his MSc in Endodontics in 1993 and worked as an in-house Endodontist in various practices before setting up in Harley St, London in 2000. He was admitted onto the specialist register in Endodontics in 1999 and has lectured extensively to postgraduate dental groups as well as lecturing on Endodontic courses at Eastman CPD, University of London. He has been involved with numerous dental groups and has been chairman of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity. In 2008 he became clinical director of EndoCare, a group of specialist practices.

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