Tools of the trade: IM3 dental unit

dental unit

By Joanne Jacobsen VN, Moonee Valley Animal Hospital, Essendon North, VIC

This dental unit is a real old workhorse in our clinic. It has a high-speed and low-speed handpiece, and an ultrasonic scaler. It’s 20 years old and we use it daily. 

What’s good about it

We’ve barely had an issue with this unit—it just goes and goes. Occasionally we have to change a head but that’s about it. It makes extracting and cleaning teeth so much easier than back in the dark days when it was all done by hand.

While there’s a range of new IM3 dental units with a few new bells and whistles, I can’t see the value in upgrading this unit while it’s still so reliable. Dentals are a growing area in veterinary practices with 60 to 70 per cent of pets needing their teeth cleaned. We hold ‘dental month’ every August and promote the idea during consults. Most people usually agree to a dental because they can’t stand the smell of their dog’s breath.

The IM3 unit is fairly maintenance-free. We change bur heads when they get blunt and put a special solution in the water that helps oil the machine. We also oil each handpiece after every use. A bit of simple maintenance is probably the reason for the unit’s longevity.

I can’t imagine that a veterinary practice wouldn’t have a dental unit. It makes cleaning, sectioning and extracting teeth so much easier. 

What’s not so good

Due to its age, our unit is lacking a few things that come as standard with modern machines today—everything from LED lights to magnetic bur holders to 360-degree swivel handpieces. 

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