If you haven’t had your teeth cleaned in a while, then there’s a piece of equipment that your hygienist wants you to know about: the ultrasonic scaler.
One of the things dental patients like least about their teeth cleanings is the “scraping” noise and feeling that they have when their hygienist removes tartar buildup from the teeth. This process is known as scaling, and it is the removal of calcified tartar deposits on the surface of the enamel or dentin portions of your teeth. If you had a large amount of tartar, this process could take quite some time and isn’t always the most comfortable procedure to have done.
With an ultrasonic scaler, a smooth, metal instrument vibrates thousands of times a second, all while being flushed with a steady stream of water. Once the side of this instrument is placed against the tartar, it vibrates right off of the tooth. Cavitation also occurs to soft plaque particles, destroying bacteria and creating a germ-free environment around the teeth. What once took several minutes to scale away now only takes several seconds. Not to mention it’s comfortable too!
The power and water supply can be adjusted for each patient, so only enough sonic force is used based on the needs of the patient. Many people actually prefer a light ultrasonic cleaning in their full mouth over traditional mechanical plaque removal. Most hygienists will use a combination of the two, depending on the amount of plaque as well as the location of tartar in the mouth.
If you’ve never had your teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, it’s time to try! The thoroughness alone makes it ideal for almost every adult patient, especially in those troubling areas that tend to get heavy buildup. Schedule your cleaning at least twice each year.
Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental
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