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Which Kind of Dental Microetcher Sandblaster is Better?

Dental Sandblaster vs Microetcher

What’s the context? We compare handheld microetcher sandblasters to enclosed-cabinet sandblasters, to see which kind is ideal for surface prep and adhesive removal.

Dental Microetcher
A handheld dental microetcher.

What kind of microetcher works best?

Handheld microetchers

Walk into any dental or orthodontic office and you shouldn’t be surprised to find a handheld microetcher. It’s portable, and works decently for surface prep — making it an indispensable tool in the clinic.

Orthodontists, periodontists, and general dentists often choose handheld microetchers for a variety of uses. However, when they are used to remove adhesive or roughen surfaces for bonding, there can be…limitations.

So we have to ask the question: is the handheld style really better than an enclosed cabinet?

We know there are some major limitations with using a handheld microetcher:

  • Small media tank – limited to short use. Frequent refilling, very annoying.
  • Low power – can take several minutes to remove tough adhesive or prep surfaces.
  • Poor air quality – ejected dust leads to declines in indoor air quality.
  • Big ol’ mess – frequent use builds up excessive dust, which can damage tools & instruments.
  • Difficult to fix if anything ever goes wrong (and things will go wrong).
  • Expensive replacement parts – parts, options, and maintenance become quite costly over time.
SandStorm Professional Microabrasive Dental Sandblaster
Vaniman dental sandblaster: SandStorm Professional

Enclosed-cabinet dental sandblasters

Cabinet style dental sandblasters have been around for quite a while. And since 1985, Vaniman has been an industry leader in creating products that improve the productivity of orthodontic labs and offices.

Our sandblasters are versatile right out of the box and require little training to use effectively.

Watch our video on setting up the SandStorm Professional.
Watch our video on adhesive removal with the SandStorm Professional.

When it comes to adhesive removal and surface prep for orthodontics, these dental sandblasters have no equal.

Both powerful and precise, our larger sandblaster removes bonding material in seconds, saving valuable time compared to a microetcher, which often runs into issues with tougher adhesive (not to mention adding abrasive to to media tank over and over).

Dental sandblasters truly shine when prepping multiple appliances and brackets at a sitting.

Application of use is clearly the defining factor when comparing these two styles, so it’s only fair to mention the limitations of a counter-top unit such as the SandStorm Professional.

Primary limitations with using our dental sandblaster:

  • Not exactly portable. The sandblasting box is ideal for counter/benches but not moving from room to room. (However, the SandStorm Professional is small enough to pick up and move, and we have heard of orthodontists doing exactly that.)
  • Limited to the cabinet size. Large objects won’t fit easily inside.

Each unit has limitations…but how do they stack up when it comes to their benefits?

Microetcher benefits:

  • Portability
  • Freedom of movement

Dental sandblaster benefits:

  • Powerful: much faster surface prep & removal (especially when removing cement from brackets)
  • Reliable & long lasting (3-year Vaniman warranty!)
  • Easy maintenance
  • Strong resin cabinet design with removable tray means no mess
  • Built-in dust collection system
  • Easy to use — minimal training required
  • 1000 mL tank requires less frequent refilling

At Vaniman, we’ve designed a dental sandblaster that is ideal for orthodontist offices: our SandStorm Professional.

If time is important to you, a dental sandblaster such as our SandStorm Professional is the clear winner for adhesive removal and surface prep. It’s an all-in-one dental sandblaster designed to save you time.

The device easily returns it’s investment cost as a stationary system thanks to hours of time-savings.

The SandStorm Pro gets work done quickly and keeps your office clean of air pollutants and dust with its proprietary filtration system.

Considering long term value, sandblasters have much less maintenance than microetchers, which increases cumulative ROI.

Make no mistake — microetchers will always be great tools for certain activities. However, their lack of power and the messes they cause make them a poor choice in the long run for a variety of other uses that they are too often tasked with.

If you’re an orthodontist with a reasonable amount of volume, a SandStorm Professional is a must-have piece of equipment for your orthodontic office. 

To view a full line of dental sandblasters and etching cabinets, visit our dental sandblaster page.

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