2 Curette Retipping Myths

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If you are a medical professional that uses curette instruments in your practice on a regular basis and you are looking for ways to keep practice expenses down, then you should consider having your curettes retipped when they become dull instead of completely replacing them. The cost of retipping a curette is less than the cost of a replacement curette, and curette retipping also reduces the number of instrument handles that end up in landfills every year. 

However, you may have heard some myths about curette retipping that make you hesitant to try a curette retipping service. 

Read on to learn about two curette retipping myths and the facts behind these common misconceptions. 

1. Retipped Curettes Are Bacteria Breeding Grounds

Some people believe that the medical instrument retipping process is bound to create cracks in curette handles that then become breeding grounds for bacteria. This false belief stems from the fact that metal curette handles can crack when exposed to high temperatures inside of an autoclave or when heating a medical instrument during the retipping process to degrade the sealer that connects the shank to the handle.

If the curette handle does become cracked when subjected to high heat, then bacteria that enter these handle cracks can become difficult to remove with traditional instrument sterilization techniques.

However, the truth is that curette retipping services are aware of this potential hazard and inspect curette handles for cracks both before and after the retipping process. If they notice a crack in the handle before or after the retipping process, they typically ask the practitioner who provides the instrument handle permission to dispose of it and continue to retip other instruments they have provided. 

2. Metals Used During Retipping Are Inferior to Original Instrument Metals 

Medical instruments can be created out of a variety of metal types. The most common type of metal used to create medical instruments, including curettes, is stainless steel, because this metal is affordable, resistant to high temperatures, and corrosion-resistant. 

While most medical curettes are made from Austenitic 316 steel, or surgical steel, due to the high strength and corrosion resistance of this steel type, AISI 301 steel is sometimes used to create the springs that some medical instruments need. 

Most curette retipping services retip medical instruments with the same surgical steel the original instrument tip was composed of. However, you can always ask a curette retipping service what metal type they use when retipping medical instruments to ensure your new curette tips are composed of the metal type that you desire. 

If you typically dispose of your medical curettes when they become worn instead of retipping them due to the misconception that retipped curettes are bacteria breeding grounds or that the metal used during the retipping process is inferior to the metal used to create the original instrument tip, you now know the facts behind these myths.