Dental News

Is Ultrasonic Dental Cleaning Really the Best?

March 7, 2016

Hand cleaning and ultrasonic scaling both have their advantages for dental cleanings

Is Ultrasonic Dental Cleaning Really the Best?These days, it seems like people are likely to favor “high tech” over “old-fashioned” in just about every situation. But what about when it comes to a dental cleaning? Are high-tech ultrasonic dental cleaning tools really better than traditional hand tools?

How Ultrasonic Tools Work

Ultrasonic dental cleaning tools, aka power scalers, use the power of high-frequency sound waves to help remove plaque and tartar from teeth. The ultrasonic waves actually crush the hard, calcified tartar deposits, which allows them to be removed from the teeth. Ultrasonic cleaning also results in shock waves that help kill bacteria by disrupting their cellular processes.

Pros & Cons of Ultrasonic Cleaning

In most situations, ultrasonic cleaning is going to work equally well as a hand cleaning. The main situation in which ultrasonic cleaning has a distinct advantage is when patients have deep gum pockets. In this case, the small tip of the ultrasonic cleaning instrument is better able to reach all the way down into the gum pocket to remove tartar, without causing discomfort o the patient. Ultrasonic cleaning is also advantageous for cleaning hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in teeth and flushing out debris.

The main disadvantage of ultrasonic cleaning is that the vibration from the instruments can make it harder for the dental hygienist to feel whether all the tartar has been removed from the root of a tooth. Ultrasonic cleaning may also be unsuitable for individuals with sensitive teeth or restorations.

Pros & Cons of Hand Tools

In the hands of a skilled dental hygienist, hand tools can be every bit as effective as ultrasonic cleaning in removing plaque and tartar from teeth and from shallow gum pockets. One very important advantage for hand tools is that they are actually gentler on teeth than the vibrations from ultrasonic tools. This means they can be used more easily on teeth that are sensitive due to demineralization, or that have porcelain or composite restorations.

The main disadvantage of using hand tools is that they can’t reach into deep gum pockets comfortably. They also tend to make cleanings take longer.

How to Get the Best Dental Cleaning

If you are in need of a good dental cleaning, contact California Dental Group today. Each of our clinic locations has talented, experienced, gentle dental hygienists on staff who will provide the best cleaning for your specific needs.