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Ultrasonic Scalers

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Parkell Turbo 25k/30k scaler unit
Parkell Turbo 25k/30k scaler unit
 
Cavitron™ - Ultrasonic scaler
Cavitron™ - Ultrasonic scaler capable of 30,000 vibrations/sec
  Piezoelectric scaler
Piezoelectric scaler

Ultrasonic scalers are used to remove calculus rapidly from the tooth surface. The scaling tip vibrates in the ultrasonic range of 20-45 kHz (i.e. 20,000 to 45,000 times per second), with an optimum frequency between 18 kHz and 32kHz.

Most of the scaling power is available at the tip, which is cooled with a jet of water.

There are three basic types - magnetostrictive, piezo-electric and Odontoson™.

 

Odontoson™ Ultrasonic scaler
Odontoson™ Ultrasonic scaler capable of 42 KHz. Has choice of 11 tips

 

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.

Slimline scaler in use
Slimline scaler in use - note water delivery system

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.

3 cavi-med™ type inserts
3 cavi-med™ type inserts allowing both sub gingival scaling with irrigation of medicamen
 
TFI insert and supragingival beavertail tip
TFI insert and supragingival beavertail tip
 
FSI SLI-10 inserts
FSI SLI-10 inserts - straight/left/right

Different shapes are available for scaling tips and some units offer interchangeable inserts, which allow various functions to be performed, such as subgingival scaling, root planing and periodontal pocket management.

The newer inserts, with thinner, longer tips, carry their own water supply with them (either through the tip itself or via an external "trombone") and can, therefore, be used for subgingival pockets, disrupting and removing subgingival plaque and ultrasonically irrigating the area. The thinner the tip the finer the action.

FSI slimline in use
FSI slimline in use

 

Advantages

  • Fast, 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)).

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.

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