Why we use Ultrasonic Technology for Perio Cleanings

Ultra Sonic ScalingYour periodontal cleaning, aimed at bacteria elimination, is not simply about gaining the appearance of squeaky clean gums and sparkling teeth. It is also the primary means of preventing periodontal disease. With an increasing number of studies attesting to the link between periodontal and systemic (whole body) health, it is our top priority here at North Raleigh Periodontics to ensure that each periodontal cleaning is top-notch. For this reason, we incorporate ultrasonic technology to make sure that each cleaning is as thorough and effective as possible, benefiting not only oral health but also facilitating whole body health.

What is ultrasonic technology, and how does it differ from cleaning completed entirely with manual tools? Tooth and gum cleaning is usually accomplished by non-surgical techniques called “scaling.” Also known as “root debridement,” this procedure involves the use of small dental instruments to physically remove bacteria deposits and calculus (calcified bacterial products that collect and attach to the tooth and roots). At one time, the bacteria was scraped away entirely by hand; now, the ultrasonic scaler has changed all that, for the better.

Ultrasonic scalers harness electromagnetic forces in the cavitron tip, the hand-held “wand.” These electromagnetic forces cause extremely rapid vibrations at 60,000 cycles per second, faster than the speed of sound. Although cycling with extreme rapidity, the tip of the cavitron vibrates very gently, spraying small streams of water into the periodontal pockets (spaces in between teeth and gums where bacteria likes to accumulate). The vibrations effectively blast away plaque and calculus in the mouth. At the same time, the water that flows from the cavitron tip cools the scaler and flushes away the debris that the scaler has blasted from the tooth and gum surface. Moreover, the vibrations combined with the stream of water rupture the walls of bacteria cells, creating an environment more hostile to harmful bacteria.

While practitioners love ultrasonic technology’s heightened effectiveness in eradicating plaque, patients also appreciate that ultrasonic cleanings are about two times quicker than manual hand scaling techniques alone. Furthermore, many prefer ultrasonic cleanings because less force needs to be used than with a hand scaler; in ultrasonic scaling, only the tip of the cavitron touches the tooth surface and only for a brief instant. North Raleigh Periodontic’s hygienists describes the contact between the ultrasonic scaler and the tooth as “a very, very light touch.”

When asked why she prefers ultrasonic cleaning, one of our hygienist replied, “One cleaning with an ultrasonic is the equivalent of about a year’s worth of cleaning with hand instruments alone.” Our hygienist adds that she is “thrilled to be able to use to use this technology to enhance patient care.” We agree! Because an ultrasonic cleaning is extremely thorough in eliminating plaque and calculus, involves much less pressure, increases patient comfort, and disrupts biofilm for more long-lasting bacterial elimination, we are happy to offer ultrasonic therapy to our patients here at North Raleigh Periodontics.