What's Better? The Ultrasonic Cleaner or Hand Scalers - City of Oaks

What's Better? The Ultrasonic Cleaner or Hand Scalers

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Technology has revolutionized the world, and the field of dentistry is one of the places that have benefited. It’s now safer, easier, and more streamlined to get better care than ever before, even with something as basic as teeth cleaning and scaling.

Scaling is part of the teeth cleaning process the hygienist uses right before the polishing step. It removes plaque and tartar from the enamel and gums. But there are multiple ways this can be performed.

Two of the most popular preferences for scaling are manual and ultrasonic. Hand scalers are the traditional handheld scraping instrument. Ultrasonic scaling devices use ultrasonic technology through vibrations to “knock out” the plaque and tartar.

So which method is better? They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Read on to see which one you prefer!

Why is Scaling Necessary?

We all know why it’s important to keep our teeth clean and flossed, but why is scaling such a big deal? 

Well, when you don’t have your teeth scaled professionally and regularly, plaque and tartar can build up. This usually happens under the gum line and in pockets around the teeth and can lead to problems like:

  • Bleeding gums 
  • Deep pockets that lead to bone tissue and tooth loss
  • Inflamed gums that develop into gingivitis or periodontitis
  • Recessed gums that visibly pull away from the teeth or shrink
  • Bone loss, usually only observed with an x-ray

To prevent all of these oral health issues, regular cleanings that include scaling should be part of your dental care. Manual scaling tools and ultrasonic tooth scaling are both efficient.

Benefits of Manual Scaling

Dental ultrasonic scaling is the newer method, but manual scaling still has a lot of benefits. These instruments are specially designed to be able to scrape off any plaque or tartar that has accumulated on your teeth.

Being able to get in there manually and find and scrape off any buildup is efficient, but time-consuming. However, if you have porcelain or composite restorations, manual scalers may be the better choice for you. If your teeth have lost their mineral foundation, they may be prone to cavities and manual scaling can make sure those teeth are clean.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Scaling

How does an ultrasonic scaler work? Unlike manual scaling, ultrasonic tooth cleaners work through vibrations. When the vibrations are fast enough, the plaque and tartar fall off your teeth quickly and efficiently. 

Some patients prefer this method because it eliminates the feeling of metal scraping against their teeth. Although it’s perfectly safe, if you have sensitive teeth, the scraping sound can be irritating. 

Ultrasonic scaling is also beneficial because the tips of the tool are so tiny. The size gives them the advantage they need to get in places where manual scraping instruments have a hard time reaching. 

As the vibrations do their job, the scaler gently sprays out cool water to help get the plaque and tartar out of their hiding places.

This type of scaling is especially beneficial in mouths where there are deposits in deep pockets that need to be cleared out. Because the tips are so small, it’s much easier to dislodge those accumulated areas of built-up plaque and tartar. The spray of water in the ultrasonic scaler also helps get rid of those deposits. 

Ultrasonic dental cleaning is not painful, and in fact, you may not even feel the vibrations. However, because they are electronic, they are not recommended for patients who have pacemakers.

Ultrasonic scaling tools are also helpful when you are dealing with weakened teeth. It's a side-effect that comes with certain diseases or advanced aging.

Manual scaling instruments rely on some force to work. During this procedure, it is possible for some enamel to be displaced. If your teeth are already unhealthy, this lends itself to more decay and increased sensitivity.

Ultrasonic scaling instruments, on the other hand, are not invasive and are less damaging to the surface of your teeth. If you need scaling but are unsure as to whether your teeth can handle the procedure, ultrasonic scalers might be the better way to go.

Types of Ultrasonic Scalers

There are two main types of ultrasonic scalers you’ll see in a dentist’s office. Both types use low-frequency sound waves as their method of treatment. These sound waves vibrate against the enamel on your teeth. When they do, they remove the tartar and plaque buildup.

The first type of ultrasonic scaler is called the magnetostrictive model. Its vibrations work at 25,000 to 30,000 cycles every second. The head moves in a circular motion, which makes it different from the second type of ultrasonic scaler.

This machine, called the piezoelectric scaler model, vibrates at a speed of 28,000 to 36,000 cycles per second, similar to its counterpart. However, where they differ significantly is in the tip’s movement. This machine’s tip vibrates back and forth against the tooth’s enamel.

Both machines have a built-in sprayer to deliver a cool, antibacterial rinse to your gums as the plaque and tartar are dislodged.

Should you and your dentist choose to use this type of scaling treatment, the benefits are numerous. Ultrasonic scalers are more effective and less invasive than manual scrapers. They also allow the hygienist to clean your teeth better, getting into harder to reach areas.

Using an ultrasonic scaler may even result in whiter teeth since it’s possible for surface stains to be removed in the process.

An ultrasonic scaling cleaning takes less time than a manual scaler procedure, so you can expect to be on your way faster, too!

Call City of Oaks for Your Oral Health Needs

Whether you’re ready to experience the innovative techniques of an ultrasonic scaler or you prefer the traditional manual method, City of Oaks can help you improve your oral health. We have everything you need to handle your dental hygiene issues, from cleaning to restorative care. 

Get rid of tartar and plaque buildup and keep your teeth and gums healthy. The sooner you get started, the better your oral health will be! Schedule your cleaning and exam at City of Oaks today.

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