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Are Dental Sandblasters Better than Microetchers?

Dental Sandblaster vs Microetcher

What’s the context? We compare orthodontic sandblasters to intraoral sandblasters or microetchers, to see which one is ideal for surface prep and adhesive removal.

Dental Microetcher
A dental microetcher.

Are sandblasters better than microetchers?

Dental microetchers

Walk into any orthodontic lab or office and you shouldn’t be surprised to find an intraoral microetcher. It’s portable, decent on surface prep, and autoclavable for intraoral use — making it an indispensable tool in the clinic.

Orthodontists often choose microetchers as their primary tool for intraoral abrasion. However, when they are used to roughen surfaces or remove adhesive material, such as crowns, inlays, and appliances for bonding or adhesive removal, there can be…limitations. So we have to ask the question: are sandblasters better than microetchers and intraoral sandblasters?

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

  • Small media tank – limited to short use. Frequent refilling.
  • 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.
  • Expensive replacement parts – parts, options, and maintenance become quite costly over time.
SandStorm Professional Microabrasive Dental Sandblaster
Vaniman dental sandblaster: Sandstorm Professional

Dental Sandblasters

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, the dental sandblasters have no equal.

Both powerful and precise, a 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 microetchers and sandblasters, so it’s only fair to mention the limitations of a counter-top unit such as the Sandstorm Professional.

Primary limitations with using a 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.)
  • No intraoral use. This unit is not designed to be used inside a person’s mouth.

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

Microetcher benefits:

  • Autoclavable
  • Intraoral use
  • Portable

Dental sandblaster benefits:

  • Much faster surface prep & removal
  • 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 vacuum 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 intraoral use. However, their lack of power and efficiency makes 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 dental sandblaster 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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