ultrasonic scaling

Ultrasonic scaling has been around for decades and should be part of the dental hygienist’s daily patient routine. Sonic scalers are still around, but most have transitioned to ultrasonic scalers.

Ultrasonic Scaling Technology

There are two types of ultrasonic scalers: magnetostrictive and piezoelectric. Both ultrasonics are effective but operate differently. Piezoelectric devices use electrical energy to activate crystals within the handpiece to vibrate to the instrument tip.1 Magnetostric devices transfer electrical energy to metal stacks made of nickel-iron alloy or to a ferrous rod to vibrate the insert.

When using magnetostrictive technology, it is important to understand all sides of the tip are active. The lateral sides are most commonly used, but the face and back are also active. To compare, only the lateral sides of piezoelectric technology are active. When using both technologies, it is very technique sensitive, and understanding which sides to use is a biggie! There can also be a learning curve when using one technology and then switching to the other. Rule of thumb, the direct tip should never be applied to the tooth as this can damage the tooth. The tip can be used on large pieces of calculus using a tapping method.

The goal of ultrasonic scaling is to effectively remove subgingival and supragingival calculus, reach deeper into periodontal pockets, and access furcation areas. In addition, ultrasonic devices act as irrigation and can flush the pockets of toxins.

Ultrasonic Scaling Could Save Your Tooth

Health is important to the longevity of your teeth. Keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy can allow you to keep those teeth in place for years to come. When you fail to care for your teeth, decay can take over. Tooth decay can cause significant structural damage to your teeth, but it can also have an effect on your gums. Gum disease is caused by the same bacteria that cause harm to your teeth. When bacteria build up beneath the gum line, you need to remove them with ultrasonic scaling. This treatment can be the difference between keeping and losing your teeth.

Ultrasonic Scaling Gives Your Teeth a Deep Cleaning

What is ultrasonic scaling? Scaling is a process by which your dentist can access the surfaces of your tooth roots, beneath the gum line. Your dentist can carefully remove any bacteria that has built up in these areas to keep the bacteria from damaging your teeth and gum tissue. Ultrasonic scaling completes this process with ultrasonic soundwaves. The waves can break up the bacteria and keep your teeth healthy, allowing them to reattach to the jawbone like they were before the bacteria arrived.

Ultrasonic Scaling Is Gentler Than Traditional Scaling and Root Planing

Traditional scaling and root planing has been used for decades to treat and reverse gum disease. During this procedure, your dentist will carefully access the area beneath the surface of your gums to effectively scrape away the bacterial buildup that is causing decay in your gums. This procedure is an important step in treating gum disease, but it can be uncomfortable. Ultrasonic relieves much of the discomfort that comes with the process. With ultrasonic scaling, there’s no need for incisions, and your recovery time from the treatment is much shorter.