Which Is Better for Scaling Teeth: Ultrasonic or Manual
A thin film of bacteria continuously forms on your teeth even after brushing and flossing them as instructed by your dentist. The thin film is called dental plaque and is the primary cause of periodontal disease. Therefore, when you visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings, the hygienist usually provides teeth care by removing dental plaque from your teeth.
If you don’t maintain proper oral hygiene and allow plaque to remain on your teeth, it hardens into calculus within 48 hours. Calculus, or tartar as it is also known, is challenging to remove merely by brushing and flossing. It requires help from dental professionals who, until this moment, were using hand scaling for tartar removal using traditional dental instruments.
Dental technology is continuously evolving, and new techniques are gradually replacing traditional instruments. Currently, many dentists are using ultrasonic scaling to remove the hardened deposits of tartar instead of conventional tools. Therefore don’t be surprised if your dentist decides to use an ultrasonic instrument in your mouth for scaling teeth gums.
This article looks at the benefits and downsides of both ultrasonic and manual instruments used by dentists when cleaning teeth.
Why Are Dentists Adopting New Technology to Scale Teeth?
Manual teeth scaling using handheld scraping instruments was and is still the standard among many dentists. However, modern dentists and hygienists increasingly prefer ultrasonic instruments to scale teeth. These new instruments function using ultrasonic vibrations to knock plaque and tartar away from your teeth. Now let us compare the differences between the two.
Ultrasonic Power Scaling
Ultrasonic instruments use the energy of ultrasonic vibration to smash and remove hard and calcified deposits of tartar. The devices also create shockwaves to disrupt bacterial cells. When using these instruments, the hygienist can wash and flush the periodontal pockets and any exposed tooth surfaces with water.
Benefits of Ultrasonic Instruments
- Ultrasonic instruments are just as effective as manual instruments for tartar removal from shallow gum pockets and significantly more beneficial for tartar removal in periodontal pockets greater than four MM.
- The instruments are effective in removing tartar from within the periodontal pockets and root surfaces.
- In addition, ultrasonic devices have smaller tips to penetrate deeper into periodontal pockets compared to manual instruments offering more comfort to patients.
Benefits of Manual Scalars
- Manual scalars depend on the skill and knowledge of the hygienist for manipulation to scrape away the tartar from the teeth and within the periodontal pockets.
- Manual scalars are equally effective for plaque and tartar removal from shallow gum pockets.
- They are better used on teeth where minerals are lacking from the tooth enamel, making it vulnerable to decay.
- Manual scalars are easier on the surface of the tooth, making them better for use with composite or porcelain restorations and sensitive teeth.
Downsides of Ultrasonic and Manual Scalars
- Ultrasonic scalers require dental hygienists to wear protective equipment because of the formation of a contaminated mist.
- The vibration of ultrasonic instruments makes it challenging to feel if the root surface is entirely smooth and free from tartar.
- Dentists cannot use ultrasonic scalars on patients with heart pacemakers.
On the other hand, manual scalars require more time to complete the cleaning. In addition, the discomfort caused by manual scalars is higher than by ultrasonic scalars.
You may think ultrasonic scanning equipment is more hazardous for weak teeth, which is entirely inaccurate. Manual scalars require scraping forces for effectiveness and can potentially remove significant amounts of enamel, exposing the teeth sensitivity in some patients.
In contrast, ultrasonic instruments are less damaging to tooth surfaces. It indicates that older patients needing teeth cleaning benefit from ultrasonic scalars than the manual variety to protect tooth enamel.
Ultrasonic teeth scaling is another example of technology making teeth care more manageable for patients. Experts believe the best results are achievable using both types of instruments. As a result, dental cleanings are accomplished with effective and efficient outcomes providing greater comfort for the patient.
In many cases, the choice of scalars is not an option patient should concern themselves. Many dentists still use conventional scalars, and numerous have invested in technology to ensure faster treatment times at greater comfort for the patient. Both techniques effectively remove plaque and tartar, but one has a distinct advantage by offering additional comfort to patients always fearful about dental visits.