As you buy or replace tools for your orthodontic practice, you should get ones that will last for years to come. Your instruments should stand the test of time, providing you with high-quality results to meet every patient’s needs. Orthodontic cutters must withstand the rigors of the trade, from the simplest to the most involved procedures.
Invest your hard-earned money in high-quality tools that will positively influence your craft. As you begin your search, you may come to a crossroads between two types: tungsten carbide vs. steel orthodontic instruments. The team at ProDentUSA is here to help you understand the differences between the two and make a confident buying decision.
Tungsten Carbide Orthodontic Instruments
Tungsten carbide is a chemical compound made of equal parts tungsten and carbon bound together with another material, usually cobalt. Its characteristic hardness has made it a popular material for orthodontic instruments since the 20th century. As you consider using tungsten carbide orthodontic cutters in your practice, you should first consider the advantages and disadvantages of using tools made with this material.
When comparing tungsten carbide vs. steel cutters, many people ask two questions:
- Is tungsten carbide stronger than steel?
- Is tungsten carbide more corrosion-resistant than steel?
Every orthodontist wants their tools to be durable and resistant to corrosion. Tungsten carbide’s most remarkable advantage is that it is non-ferrous, which means it is rust-resistant. You can use tungsten carbide tools for years without seeing a speck of rust, which is crucial when exposing your tools to water during the autoclave sanitation process.
Tungsten carbide’s strength is also one of its disadvantages. While it is a stable compound that can withstand plenty of force, it has little to no “give,” making it a brittle material. Because of this brittleness, the tips of tungsten carbide tools can break when you least expect it, leading to a dangerous situation.
You’ll also need to be careful about what cleaning agents you use with tungsten carbide. Acids can cause tips to melt away, dissolving the cobalt that bonds the tungsten and carbon. This phenomenon leads to pitting, as the cobalt disappears and leaves a weak “web” of tungsten and carbide behind. Hydrogen peroxide causes tungsten carbide tips to turn black from oxidization.
Despite its hardness, tungsten carbide is sensitive to specific cleaning agents and pressure levels. This vulnerability makes tungsten carbide tools expensive over time, as you’ll need more frequent repairs or replacements.
Siberian Stone™ Orthodontic Instruments
Siberian Stone™ orthodontic instruments from ProDentUSA contain a unique, 400 series metal alloy. This metal is a type of steel that uses a cold-work hardening process to create a durable product. We guarantee Siberian Stone™ will hold a sharp edge for a longer time than other instruments in their class. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons you may experience when using Siberian Stone™ products in your orthodontic practice.
Here are some of the advantages of Siberian Stone™.
- Durability and longevity: The cold-work hardening process used to create Siberian Stone™ products is one of the secrets to their exceptional durability. These tools will resist rust and discoloration from water and other chemicals, thanks to their durable, high-quality build. With proper care, these tools will resist corrosion and abrasion, so you can use them for years to come.
- The right level of hardness: The unique steel used in Siberian Stone™ products is hard enough to provide a clean, precise cut. But it also has just enough “give” to keep it from being brittle and resulting in a chipped tip.
- Long-lasting sharpness: The special metal alloy present in Siberian Stone™ instruments gives them long-lasting sharpness. You’ll enjoy these instruments’ edge and their effortless cut, and the length of time between honing may surprise you.
- Superior grip: You’ll enjoy the feel and grip Siberian Stone™ products provide. You can feel the quality the moment you take one in your hand. You’ll wield them with confidence, which can help you provide even better results for your patients.
You should keep a few things in mind when using Siberian Stone™ orthodontic tools. While they boast a long list of benefits, you’ll need to consider the following drawbacks.
The first consideration is that you’ll need to use distilled water when sterilizing your Siberian Stone™ instruments. As you read above, these products are corrosion-resistant. But the minerals, salt and chloride that non-distilled water leaves behind can adversely affect these instruments’ integrity. Over time, these materials may cause pitting, corrosion and discoloration on your orthodontic tools. However, this should be relatively simple since all instruments should be cleaned using only distilled water.
The second aspect to remember when comparing tungsten carbide vs. steel orthodontic pliers is that Siberian Stone™ products are more expensive upfront. Depending on your budget, you may lack the wiggle room to buy these products for your practice. But, you should also consider your long-term expenses. With proper care, Siberian Stone™ instruments can outlive tungsten carbide instruments and stay sharper throughout. These tools will pay for themselves in their performance and longevity.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know more about these two types of orthodontic instruments, you’re closer to making a smart decision. Here’s the bottom line:
- Tungsten carbide tips can break off because of their brittle nature. This fragility could detract from the confidence with which you cut and trim wires in your day-to-day as you may worry about the tip accidentally breaking.
- Tungsten carbide holds a sharp edge for a shorter amount of time than Siberian Stone™, making it harder to provide a clean cut when trimming your patients’ damaged or uncut braces wire.
- Siberian Stone™ products have a three-year warranty covering factory defects. You can feel confident in your purchase, knowing you’ll get the perfect product. And if something ever goes wrong with your instruments, there’s a team of friendly professionals ready to help make it right for you.
- Siberian Stone™ tools hold their sharp edge for longer than tungsten carbide instruments. Plus, they last longer, making them a worthwhile, long-term investment.
At ProDentUSA, we create high-quality instruments for more affordable prices than the competition. We match our commitment to quality with a desire to get the best orthodontic tools into your hands so you can do your best work. We achieve this by selling the tools we create without the need for a middleman. You get tools directly from our factory at a higher quality for the price than you can’t find anywhere else.