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Ultrasonic vs Manual Scaling (pros & cons)

Ultrasonic vs Manual Scaling (pros & cons)
Posted on December 20, 2022

When you go to your dentist for a regular hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist will clean a thin film of bacteria off your teeth called plaque. Removing plaque is a great way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, so regularly visiting the dentist is important. There are two ways to remove plaque: ultrasonic scaling and manual scaling. There are benefits to each one, and you and your hygienist will discuss and decide which one is best for your particular care. Here’s how to choose which one is right for you. 

What is Ultrasonic scaling

Ultrasonic scaling is a relatively new technology that uses the energy of ultrasonic vibration to remove the calcified deposits of tartar and plaque buildup. Additionally, these tools create shockwaves that disrupt bacterial cells in your mouth. Further, your dental hygienist can wash your teeth and clean out any pockets of buildup.

Manual scaling 

This is what most of us think of when we think of going to the dentist for a cleaning, and it involves the scraping of metal instruments against your teeth. These tools are still useful and are used by many hygienists as they are very effective at cleaning plaque buildup off our teeth. 

Benefits of ultrasonic scaling 

These tools are just as effective as manual scaling tools when it comes to removing tartar from shallow gum pockets, and they are more effective for removing tartar in pockets greater than 4mm deep. In addition to being just as effective as manual tools, these instruments usually offer a much better experience for the patient. This can be helpful if the patient feels discomfort with manual scaling techniques. 

Benefits of manual scaling

Manual tools are better for teeth that may lack tooth enamel, making them especially vulnerable to decay. Additionally, for teeth that have composite or porcelain restorations or may be sensitive, manual tools are usually better to use because they are easier on the surface of the tooth. 

Using manual scaling tools means it will take more time to complete the cleaning, so if you and your hygienist decide to go this route, prepare to have a slightly longer appointment than if you were to choose ultrasonic cleaning. Keep in mind, ultrasonic tools emit vibrations, which can make it difficult for hygienists to feel the surface of a tooth and ensure it’s free of buildup. Sometimes, both will be used in a cleaning appointment to ensure even the hardened plaque will be removed from the tooth. 

In summary 

Ultrasonic tools can give patients of all ages a more comfortable experience at the dentist, with a slightly shorter hygiene appointment. But there are benefits to both techniques and you and your hygienist will discuss what works best for you. 

Overall, there isn’t one that is better than the other when it comes to cleaning teeth – it’s really a preference, what a patient is comfortable with and what their hygienist has recommended based on their needs. 

Contact Creekview Dental

At Creekview Dental, we offer both ultrasonic scaling and manual scaling. Contact us today to make an appointment with one of our skilled hygienists.  

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