What is Ultrasonic Dental Cleaning?

Infinite Dental Wellness offers ultrasonic cleaning, which certainly sound high tech and cutting edge, but it may be unclear just what the benefits to patients are. In this post, we’ll demystify the practice, explaining how ultrasonic cleaning works and what that means for you!

An ultrasonic scaling tool with cleansing mist
An ultrasonic scaling tool with cleansing mist

What do ultrasonic cleaning and scaling do?
Dental hygiene has evolved and so have the goals for cleaning your teeth through periodontal therapy to prevent and/or treat gum disease. In the 1960s, it was starting to become clear that dental contaminants like bacteria, plaque, and biofilm were the major causes of gum disease and infections. Cleaning these substances off the teeth to remove hard deposits accumulated on teeth– the procedure that uses that scary poiny metal hook everyone hates– is generally known as scaling. In ultrasonic cleaning, the sharp hook is replaced by an electric device known as an ultrasonic scaler, now very commonly used during routine scaling and root planing.

No need for metal scaling tools anymore!
No need for metal scaling tools anymore!

What makes ultrasonic cleaning different?
The scaler vibrates at an extremely high frequency that will actually cause the plaque to fall right off the tooth! Ultrasonic scalers vibrate at a high frequency to help with removing stains and buildup of plaque and calculus as well. Ultrasonic scalers also create tiny air bubbles through a process known as cavitation. These bubbles serve an important function for periodontal cleanings: because the bacteria living in periodontically involved pockets are anaerobic, meaning a type of organism unable to survive in the presence of oxygen, these bubbles get under the gum line and surface where the bacteria live and help to destroy them. The oxygen helps to break down bacterial cell membranes and causes them to explode.

Is ultrasonic cleaning right for me?
Not only is ultrasonic cleaning more effective than standard cleaning, it’s also faster and more efficient. Ultrasonic cleaning is absolutely sufficent for the average teeth cleaning and scaling process, including cases with ginigivitis (the early stage of gum disease.) Larger deposits of plaque and tartar that have hardened on can take some time to remove, somewhat like trying to remove baked-on grime on a stove that has been left over a long time, but a few extra visits are preferable to many people if the other option is old fashioned manual scaling. It has actually been shown to decrease the occurrence of gingivitis and other gum diseases, because more plaque can be removed.

Individuals with teeth and gum problems need the most beneficial and effective cleaning techniques possible, so they can really benefit through use of the ultrasonic. Since there is no actual physical contact or stress on the enamel, patients with gum disease that can make work on the teeth very painful will also respond well to ultrasonic work.

If you’re due for a cleaning but have been scared off by traditional methods and metal instruments, we encourage you to come in and see what ultrasonic cleaning can do for you! Contact us today to make your appointment.