It’s true. Your patients look forward to that squeaky clean feeling after a professional dental cleaning. But as dental professionals, we know it’s not just about helping patients’ smiles look bright and fresh. Cleanings remove bacterial plaque and tartar not only from the visible portions of the tooth, but also the root surfaces. For years, scaling was performed entirely with manual tools. But the ultrasonic scaler has changed that.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ULTRASONIC SCALER?
Although there are many different types of ultrasonic scalers, they all work in a similar fashion. Electromagnetic forces in the unit’s handheld wand cause its tiny tip to vibrate faster than the speed of sound blasting away plaque, calculus, and stains from tooth surfaces.
The benefits of these hand instruments? Improved clinical outcomes, increased patient comfort, reduced chair time, and less physical demands on clinicians. Think about it this way: Imagine taking a trip in a used Chevy with no air conditioning and uncomfortable seats. It gets you from point A to point B, but wouldn’t you rather take that same trip in a new Mercedes with all the modern luxuries? This is how different hand scalers can be from ultrasonic scalers. Read on for 9 more reasons why you should make the switch to an ultrasonic scaler – the Mercedes of dental instruments!
1. KEEP YOUR HANDS HAPPY
Ultrasonic scalers are considered the instrument of choice when it comes to the removal of plaque and other debris. And since these tools remove calculus in a more time efficient manner, most hygienists also find ultrasonic scalers to be far less tiring for their hands and arms. Just let the vibrating tip work its magic and with a wave of your “wand” watch as stubborn stains disappear – along with hand fatigue!
2. PUT AN END TO LONG HOURS SPENT IN THE CHAIR
No one wants to be at an appointment longer than they have to be. Even if patients enjoy a visit to the dentist, as many do, there isn’t any customer that wouldn’t be appreciative of more time back on their day’s clock! With the power of an ultrasonic scaler, you can get patients in and out of the chair quicker while still providing the same great care. This faster cleaning time also allows for more patient appointments in the same day, so it’s a win for both parties!
Some hygienists who use manual scalers still periodically use a stone to manually scrape and sharpen their scalers. Talk about a ye olde process! The time spent sharpening manual scalers could better be spent elsewhere, and thankfully this chore is no longer necessary thanks to ultrasonic scalers, which eliminate the need for this step entirely. The inserts that pair with ultrasonic tools have a far greater life span. Praise ye, ultrasonic technology!
4. REMOVE PLAQUE AND CALCULUS DEPOSITS MORE EFFECTIVELY
You know how a power washer does a much better job at cleaning your car than a sponge? That same concept can be applied to using an ultrasonic scaler on your teeth. This technology does a more thorough job of removing grit and grime, which can prevent future oral issues. These tools create shock waves that destroy bacterial cells and prevent them from spreading. They also work by washing and flushing out the pockets with water, which helps create an environment that’s less hospitable to harmful bacteria.
5. INCREASE PATIENT COMFORT
If poking and prodding aren’t enough to get a patient squirming in their chair, the scraping and screeching sounds sure are! You can avoid these unnerving sounds altogether by using an ultrasonic scaler. Also, because of their small tips, they can penetrate into the periodontal pockets, a process which generally produces no pain and eliminates the need to use a local anesthesia.
6. COMBAT UNPLEASANT TASTE WITH A MOUTHWATERINGLY MINTY POWDER
Cavitron® Prophy-Jet® and Jet-Fresh® Powder – Shop
It’s possible that some patients may note an unpleasant, salty taste during an ultrasonic cleaning. Such a taste can be quite the surprise when compared to the bubblegum, berry, or mint flavors patients typically encounter. This is due to the type of powder that is ejected from the ultrasonic scaler along with the water. An easy solution is to use a tasty, mint flavored powder product along with the treatment, like the one pictured above.
7. SAY SAYONARA TO SPLASHING WATER
Due to the high speed of the water and powder being emitted from the instrument, patients and hygienists may occasionally feel like feel like they just took a “Maid of the Mist” tour of Niagara Falls. For better or worse, high speed fluid is needed to cool and lubricate the scaler tip, break up biofilm, and provide washed visibility, all of which help remove calculus. A smart solution would be to find an ultrasonic scaler that is reputed to not splash water…that, and to always use protective shields, masks, and glasses.
8. MANAGE POTENTIAL MAINTENANCE ISSUES WITH THE WATERLINE
In order for the ultrasonic instrument to perform as intended, a steady flow of water needs to be emitted. If, for whatever reason there is an issue with the waterline, a maintenance professional would need to be called on site. True, a manual scaler wouldn’t have this issue, but it also doesn’t generally clean as deeply or completely. Plus, having the opportunity to interact with a friendly and knowledgeable TechEdge service professional is never a bad thing – you never know what new tips they may share!
9. KNOW WHEN YOU CAN AND SHOULD SWITCH BETWEEN TECHNOLOGIES
If a patient’s mouth is extremely healthy, and there are only trace amounts of tartar, does it really make sense to use an ultrasonic scaler on the whole mouth? Think of it like when you eat dinner and only have one dirty dish. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to run the dish washer just for that one dish, and it’s more economical to clean it by hand. In the case of oral health, if there is only one problem tooth in an otherwise pristine mouth, a dentist may elect to address small amounts of plaque with hand instruments.
Having ultrasonic technology at your disposal, but identifying instances where it may not be necessary, is also something to consider. Take the time to pick the best product for your patients, understand that a blended approach of automatic and manual scalers may be the smartest route!
SHOP THE PRODUCT
When it comes to ultrasonic technology, DENTSPLY has been leading the field in innovation and execution. Their latest product offering, the Cavitron Touch™, continues to set the standard in industry excellence.
Cavitron Touch™ by DENTSPLY – Shop
- Discover more information on the subject of preventative care solutions HERE.
- Read more about the Cavitron Touch™ HERE.
- Read an in-depth article from RDH Magazine on “Clinical Instrumentation with advanced ultrasonics” HERE.
- Watch a clinical demonstration video of a cleaning executed via ultrasonic technology HERE.