How It Works
The scaling tip vibrates and follows a pattern depending on power rating and type - elliptical, curved linear or figure of 8. The water is energised as it passes over the tip to provide cavitation, which results in a scouring action. Because of the heat generated at the tip, it is essential to keep the tip moving over the teeth.
A good guide is that one should not spend more than 10 seconds on any individual tooth and never to press harder than one ounce of pressure. Pressing hard stops the tip from vibrating and reduces the effectiveness of the tip to that of a hand scaler. It also concentrates heat in one area with possibly lethal consequences for the pulp. Best practice involves selecting a group of three of four teeth and scaling them in sequence to prevent over-heating any one tooth.
Ultrasonic Scaler AdvantagesFast, effective scaling if used properly - light touch & short time on tooth.
Subgingival work is possible with the correct type of insert (e.g. Focus Spray Insert (FSI), Slimline or Through Flow Insert (TFI)).
Ultrasonic Scaler Disadvantages
Iatrogenic heat damage to the tooth is possible if not used carefully.
Standard beavertail shape tips cannot be used subgingivally. For subgingival use, FSI, TFI or Slimline inserts are required.
Handpieces can heat up considerably during long scaling procedures, if water pressure is not consistent. Garden water bottle reservoirs generally fail to provide a consistent and useful level of water pressure. If an Air Compressor is available, plumbing the unit in provides a better result.