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HomeOral Health & HygieneDental Cleanings: Are Ultrasonic Cleanings Better than Hand Instrument Cleanings?

Dental Cleanings: Are Ultrasonic Cleanings Better than Hand Instrument Cleanings?

Recently, an anonymous reader sent me a question asking about the differences between the instruments that dentists can use for cleanings.  It reads: For cleanings, my dentist uses a plaque scraper and the rotating buffer thing. Other dentists in the area advertise ultrasonic cleanings. What is an ultrasonic cleaning? Does it provide any additional advantage, or have any disadvantages?

Hand Instruments Used for Dental CleaningsFirst of all, there are two main techniques for removing plaque and tartar from your teeth – manual and ultrasonic.  A manual cleaning is done using hand instruments such as those pictured to the left.  An ultrasonic cleaning means that the dentist is using a special instrument that vibrates at a very high frequency to remove the plaque and tartar.  The ultrasonic instrument also sprays a stream of water toward your teeth.  Here are two examples of ultrasonic instruments: the Cavitron and the BlisSonic.

Dental Tooth Polishing - Photo Courtesy of Wsiegmund
Polishing the teeth after removing plaque and tartar.

Regardless of the technique your dentist uses, the dentist will still use the rotating rubber cup with dental cleaning paste to smooth out and polish the teeth, as shown in the picture to the right.

Which Is Better, Ultrasonic or Hand Instrument Cleanings?

When I am preparing to clean a patient’s teeth, I consider how much plaque and calculus (calculus is the dental term for tartar, or plaque that has hardened onto the teeth.) that particular patient has on their teeth.  If they have a lot of plaque and tartar,  I will usually use an ultrasonic instrument to remove it.  This is mainly because the ultrasonic instrument can remove tartar much faster and easier than the hand instruments. However, after using the ultrasonic instrument, I always examine the teeth to make sure that I didn’t miss anything.  If tartar and plaque remain, I usually remove it with the hand instruments at that point.  I do this because it is easier to remove very small amounts of tartar with the hand instruments as it is easier to visualize the tartar with. This study suggests that ultrasonic instruments may be better because they have a steady flow of water that comes out of them and that can help to dislodge tartar that may have accumulated below the gumline. That study also talked about micro-ultrasonic instruments and how they are easier to maneuver below the gums due to their small size.  They can also reach down into the grooves better on tooth surfaces to remove more plaque. This study that compared the effectiveness of ultrasonic instruments and hand instruments concluded the following: [emphasis added]:

Evaluation of residual plaque and calculus after instrumentation with hand- and power-driven scalers showed sonic and ultrasonic scalers to be equivalent, and in some cases, superior to hand scaling. When modified ultrasonic inserts were compared with unmodified ultrasonic inserts and hand curets, the modified ultrasonic inserts produced smoother roots with the least amount of damage, better access to the bottom of the pocket, better calculus and plaque removal, less operator time, and less operator fatigue than did hand scaling…

Another thing that studies have looked at is how much good tooth structure the various instruments remove.  When a hygienist is cleaning your teeth and roots, they have to scrape hard to remove the plaque and tartar.  They unavoidably remove some good tooth structure when they do this. The final study we’ll take a look at involved the amount of healthy tooth structure ultrasonic instruments removed compared to conventional hand instruments.  Here’s what the researchers found:

Based on the results of these two comparative studies, the power-driven inserts or the various ultrasonic scalers tested did not remove more tooth substance than conventional hand instruments. They may thus be a useful alternative for the debridement of root surfaces.

They found that the ultrasonic scalers may not remove as much tooth structure as the regular hand instruments. In summary, the ultrasonic instruments do have many advantages when compared to the hand instruments.  When a patient has lots of plaque and tartar build-up, the ultrasonic instruments are great at quickly cleaning the teeth.  However, many dentists prefer to simply use hand instruments when there is only a small amount of tartar on the teeth.

Why Dentists Might Not Use Ultrasonic Instruments for Your Dental Cleaning

Dental Cleaning with Hand Instruments.  Courtesy of Walter Siegmund
Using hand instruments to remove calculus

Many people go to the dentist twice a year to get cleanings.  When I see a patient with excellent oral hygiene and excellent teeth, it doesn’t make much sense to use an ultrasonic scaling instrument for their cleaning because there is such a minimal amount of calculus to remove.  Some patients have very little calculus because they floss regularly and brush with tartar-control toothpaste. When someone has just a small amount of calculus to clean off, I find it easier to just quickly use the hand instruments and then polish the teeth.  Using the ultrasonic instrument requires setting it up as well as sterilizing it afterward, so it makes more sense to quickly grab a tool to take care of a small problem. Perhaps a simple analogy will illustrate this point.  Suppose you use a drinking glass and need to wash it.  You could either wash it by hand or put it in the dishwasher – but you have no other dirty dishes to wash.  You would most likely wash it by hand rather than run it through a cycle in the dishwasher, right?  Well, for similar reasons, your dentist may elect to take care of small amounts of tartar with hand instruments.

A Video Showing an Ultrasonic Dental Cleaning

Here’s a video showing the difference between ultrasonic cleanings and hand instrumentation:

What Do You Think?

Have you had an ultrasonic cleaning?  Did your mouth feel cleaner afterwards?  Did you think it was more comfortable?  Some people prefer the ultrasonic cleaning, some don’t. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

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51 COMMENTS

  1. I have asked my hygenist to discontinue ultrasonic scaling. As I get older I have more gum recessions and exposed nerves (or whatever goes on with the recessions). Hitting one of them with the ultrasonic is terrible, and as time went on I found that just getting near them caused enough discomfort (maybe more anxiety, but real pain too) that I just had enough. Fortunately I am blessed with good teeth – very little tartar/calculus buildup, and I take care of them at home very well. I hate to make more work for my hygenist, but like I said, I had enough. And I’m finding out it’s not that much more work – just less than optimal results.

  2. Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Wonderful. I am also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  3. I had an ultrasonic cleaning done for the first time today, and it was the most painful dental experience I have ever had to my memory. I don’t know why it was so painful, maybe my hygienist was not skilled in its use, or my gums are more sensitive than ever, but I’m only in my 20’s, so I really have no clue. Over 12 hours later my gums still hurt from the cleaning. I wish I’d had the “less discomfort” experience, but just my luck…

  4. I experienced the first ultrasonic cleaning of my teeth today – May 21/15. I do NOT feel that my teeth are cleaner than when done by the scraping method. I had no discomfort and found the procedure to be very quick and thorough. Not sure if I will have ultrasonic cleaning again and may request the old scraping method and perhaps alternate between the two procedures.

  5. My sister graduated from UVM hygiene school in the mid 70’s. It was before ultrasonic was available. I have two objections to ultrasonic cleaning. 1. As mentioned by Greg, above, the ultrasonic is painful to “old” sensitive teeth. 2. Hygienist using the ultrasonic are less skilled with the hand tools for two reasons. A. Hygiene school gives them less training and practice, knowing that the ultrasonic will be the primary cleaning instrument they will use, and B. most dental offices do not require the hygienist to own and care for (sterilize & SHARPEN) her own instruments. Ask your dentist. “How often are hygiene instruments sharpened and who sharpens them?” My dentist office out-sources the sharpening and they only send the instruments out once a month. In the last ten years, I have yet to have my teeth cleaned with sharp instruments by a hygienist skilled in using hand instruments. Think about this: if your gums and teeth are sore after a cleaning and you brush and floss every day, you are most likely getting your teeth cleaned by either/or an unskilled hygienist or dull instruments.

    • I would have to disagree with your statements. In regards to A) students have less training in manual instruments as ultrasonic will “be primarily used” is absurd and not accurate in any sense. Speaking from experience and not just merely assumptions (as a graduate of an accredited college 3 year Dental Hygiene program) hand instruments were the core and primary instruments in which we practiced with, in fact, of the six semesters the ultrasonic was only to be used in the fifth and sixth of clinical practice to ensure that the primary instruments (MANUAL NOT ULTRASONIC) in which EVERY office uses were thoroughly understood and that the student was skillfully trained in the usage of these tools. We went through (and this is referring to all programs in regards to dental hygiene) endless tests and clinical hours in order to provide excellent care to patients as we are to graduate as health care providers. Contrary to what you may think MANY TRADITIONAL OFFICES Do NOT HAVE AN ULTRASONIC (again speaking through experience as being an licensed, working, profressional hygienist). The program in which your sister would have graduated would have been a one year program we now must complete at least a 18month condensed course to a four year degree in order to practice (at least in Canada) meaning we do have additional training in all new technological advancements in order to successfully use any tool to effectively do our job.

      I do agree that the ultrasonic can be uncomfortable if areas of recession/root exposure are present, this is due to the vibration of the instrument, water temperature and fact that root exposed areas are lacking protective enamel covering. The hygienist whom is providing the services should be taking this into consideration when assessing which instrument type is most beneficial for EACH patient. Many individuals can benefit from the ultrasonic although it is not for everyone.

      In regards to your office only sending instruments off for sharpening once per month you should be looking for a new dental clinic in which has higher customer service expectations and standards as this is unacceptable. Unfortunately, there are offices that do not maintain instrument sharpness and this is an injustice to both the hygienists and the patients, however, again do not assume that this is what is taught and expected of the profession and that all offices are the same.

      I have myself been complemented many of times over the course of my career that I am “a gentle hygienist” yet for some individuals a cleaning may still be difficult and/or uncomfortable and the gums may be tender following debridement, again, many factors to take into consideration here, unless you have optimal at home care, cleanings can be uncomfortable but they are still necessary. Medical conditions, mouth breathing, xerostomia (dry mouth) all play roles in the comfort of cleanings as well as they play roles in gingival health. It is important for your hygienist to take everything into consideration and to try to provide the most comfortable cleaning as possible while still doing a thorough job.

      Not all recent graduates are terrible and not all veteran hygienists are great and vice versa so try not being so judgemental in the future it is not a great personal characteristic to have.

      Enjoy your day 🙂

  6. I recently had an ultrasonic cleaning for the first time. I had a heart attack a couple months earlier and my gums were inflamed as well so it was suggested over cleaning by hand tools. It was fantastic! Inflammation gone. The gum swelling disappeared…my teeth felt cleaner…and …I’ve never had less pain. I am going to request this technique from now on!

  7. I didn’t have much of a preference before I read this article. Before I was pretty impressed with the ultrasound technology but it’s clear how much less practical it is. I’ll have to talk with my hygienist about it next time I visit.

  8. Does ultrasonic cleaning degrade fillings in any way? Specifically concerned about amalgam fillings is there any amalgam (mercury) residue remaining in the mouth, on the instruments, etc. Thank you for your website!

    • Hi Kathleen,
      When I clean teeth, I always attempt to clean every trace of tartar, (and polish, removing any left over plaque) on NHS or if it’s a hygiene appointment.
      Any amount of residue of mercury (within the amalgam filling) will get sucked up by the aspiration. Also, the amount of mercury you get from the amalgams, is less than the amount you get if you eat fish).
      Hope this helps 🙂
      Neel

  9. I just had my first cleaning with the Cavitron. It was so painful that I had to ask her to stop and finish with the “old fashioned” way of cleaning teeth. To me it just seems like a way for the hygienist to do her job faster, not necessarily better and she seemed unconcerned about the amount of pain she was causing. I am someone who actually enjoys getting her teeth cleaned and go at least twice a year. I plan to request a new hygienist and won’t allow the Cavitron to be used on me again.

    • I was told by a peridontist because I had a couple of 5 and 6 pockets I had to have Cavitron four times a year. I dread it. They have to give me nitrous plus numb my whole mouth. It is so painful.

    • I agree I just had this done for the first time . I am extremely pissed at the dentist. I have a cracked tooth because I grind my teeth so bad .She knew I was in pain just finished an x-ray and knew my gum there was infected. She just kept going very rude. One side of my face has lost feeling and my mouth is now drooping.

  10. More to the point, where can we purchase one? What are the good/cheap products of this type? Is ultrasonic scaler the generic name? Can one use one on oneself?

    I have been getting worse and worse gum pockets as Japanese dentists teach me to brush gently along the line between my teeth and gums. Through my own fault, my gums have got worse and I am now in danger of loosing my teeth.

    But hold on a minute, my Japanese dental hygienists, who are no busier that I am, do not use the techniques that they teach. They use metal manual tools, these ultrasonic/water jet descalers, and rotary brushes. I have jet of water (Panasonic Doltz and hose attachments to my taps), and now I getting a rotary brush (Braun Oral B) and I am wondering about getting one of these descalers.

  11. I just had ultrasonic cleaning & loved it, but a few days later I started having ringing in my ears. So I don’t know if that is causing it & the chance of getting tinnitus, which I hope & pray I don’t. Or if I have wax buildup in my ears, because my ears have never been cleaned & the cleaning irritated that or an infection. Talked to my dentist and if they don’t clear up in 3 days then I will need to see a ENT doctor…. Has anyone experience this before?
    The ringing is unbearable at times !!!!

  12. I saw a different hygienist at the same practice for the first time in over ten years. My regular hygienist always used the ultrasonic on me.
    The ultrasonic cleaning was never mentioned or nor was it suggested that I have it. I am very sensitive to it and that’s the one thing I dread about my hygiene appointments. and thought I had to have it. When making my next appointment I asked if I had to make it with my regular hygienist or with the current girl. She said I could do whatever I wanted. I booked appt. with the new girl. No more ultrasonic for my super sensitive teeth.

  13. I had this done for the first time yesterday. I have healthy teeth, but do have a small amount of recession in some places. This resulted in an EXTREMELY painful experience with the ultrasonic scaling. The hygienist said the discomfort I felt was just an ‘odd sensation’ caused by the tartar popping off, but it was not – it was nerve pain, and it was very, very uncomfortable. I’ve never had fear of going to the dentist, but if I ever need to have the ultrasonic procedure done again, I will go to a dentist who will sedate me first. I’ve felt anxious ever since the appointment, and still keep having ‘flashbacks’ of the nerve pain. I will not do that again.

  14. A 4th year dental student usually cleans my teeth, but because of her busy schedule I had a newer student this time. Perhaps it was his technique, but the Cavitron he used was just torture.. It felt like needles were being inserted deep into my gums. I’ve had one molar removed and several major fillings and this was the worst dental pain I’ve experienced. When the dentist checked out the student’s work she told me that one of my molars had several microfractures in it and will need a crown. I had no pain in this tooth before the cleaning and now it’s killing me. I’m very nervous to try it again on my 40 year old teeth. I believe that in the wrong hands this time saving tool may be dangerous to older, weaker teeth.

    • I had a horrible experience yesterday first tine I ever had that done to me and my gums killing me now and was also told I was going to have to have crown my was broke up but it was fine before that rude dentist hygienist used that instrument

  15. Just had ultrasonic cleaning and it was pleasant enought but I have the same feeling 2 weeks later at my gums as I normally would a year after manual cleaning. Feels like its time for a cleaning already.

  16. I am a hygienist and have been practicing for23 years. I tend to handscale more than using the ultrasonic. I understand the studies done that state the benefits of the ultrasonic but find my patients are maintained quite well without it. I was recently told quite blatantly by another hygienist that I was performing substandard care. Mind you, I use it when a patient has heavy calculus, inflammation, and stain, and always when doing rootplaning, unless of course there is a health issue where it’s use is contraindicated. What’s your opinion? Am I providing substandard care to my patients?

  17. Well-I’m an MD and don’t claim to be an Expert on things Dental, but I’ve had an Epiphany. I have been using Livionex Gel since last February, along with Jason’s Enzymatic toothpaste more recently. I have NO Financial Connection to either company. The Gel has a chelating agent that actually removes Calcium from the Plague, so that it cannot become tartar. At my Last Cleaning in May, there was Minimal Bleeding (UNHEARD of for Me) and the Hygienist did not use the Cavitron. When I asked her why, she stated that I had light Tartar this time. I think Everybody should use the Gel. I also use an irrigator after lunch and dinner, and a dry mouth paste and mouthwash before bed. I use a chlorinated Mouthwash twice daily, and Tom’s after lunch. I use a prescription fluoride gel at the gum line at bedtime (I had a Cavity on the front wall of one of my Wisdom Teeth recently.)

  18. PS: why don’t Hygienists scrape the crown of the molars-they just polish them? Is it because the shapes are too complex and no instrument can do it?

    • Generally individuals do not get tartar on the occlusal (crown) surfaces of the tooth because we are able to clean these regions fairly well at home. Tartar ( very dense/hard plaque that can build up in less then 10 days) generally builds up beneath the gum level (in the sulcus, the space between your gum and your tooth which is approximately 1-3millimeters in depth (in healthy gums) to the supporting bone around your teeth. Some tartar/calculus makes it way out of under your gums and this is also cleaned. Generally most commonly builds up on the tongue side of the bottom front teeth , tongue side of the bottom last molars and cheek side of the upper molars. If your hygienist sees tartar/calculus in the crown region they will clean it (usually in the case of very poor oral care) however it is not common to have large deposits in these areas. Hope this helps 🙂

  19. Is teeth scaling method by vibratator kind of machine may be ultrasonic machine is safe from hiv and other diseses.pls ans me

  20. I have strong, healthy teeth and I hate ultrasonic cleaning with a passion. I find manual cleaning leaves my teeth feeling better, possibly because the hygienist at my dental practice seems to get a bit lazy and thinks the ultrasonic cleaner requires no effort. I’ve often found stains left on my teeth after ultrasonic cleaning which are easily removed with hand cleaning and polishing. Plus, it hurts! If the probe is held in one place for a few seconds I can feel my tooth or whatever it’s being used on get hotter and hotter until it becomes unbearable. My hygienist says this isn’t possible but I recently read ultrasonic cleaning may not be suitable for people with temperature sensitivity. I don’t get pain from hot or cold drinks though, just that damn ultrasonic probe!

  21. I have been a dental hygienist for 30 years, all but 4 working for a periodontist, so I see the most diseased mouths. The pain patients experience with ultrasonic scaling is real and shouldn’t be dismissed. I use the ultrasonic very judiciously and not as a first resort on well maintained patients because it is uncomfortable on exposed root surfaces, which 99% of my patients have. I always use it during root planing appointments, but the patient is typically anesthetized. I have found that newer dental hygiene grads rely solely on the ultrasonic and are almost mystified when asked to hand scale; a very ” one size fits all” approach. A lot gets missed if ultrasonic scaling is not followed up with hand scaling…. And I end up doing the cleanup as these patients are sent to me after their disease progresses despite being seen for regular cleanings at their general dentist. Bottom line- if a procedure hurts, speak up. You can’t get a thorough cleaning if you are constantly wincing, because most hygienists will back off and leave calculus behind at that point. If they don’t, they are a sadist and you don’t want them as your provider.

  22. I had my teeth cleaned about two weeks ago. Evidently there was a lot of buildup even though I brush carefully twice a day and dental floss daily.
    (For a few years I ate very little starch to control somewhat high blood sugars. During that time the hygienist had little to do in cleaning my teeth. Lately I have started eating starches in the morning when they don’t seem to raise my blood sugar. Maybe it’s the starch, or some starches, that causes most of the tarter buildup.) Anyway, the hygienist used an unltrasonic scaler, and I hated it. It makes an awful shrieking noise and hurts! Before the cleaning I had a back tooth that I thought might have a cavity forming near the gumline. (The tooth is crowned.) Immediatly after the cleaning that same back tooth started having pressure sensitivity and it didn’t before. It has gotten worse rather than better. So, now I’m worried I will need a root canal done.

  23. I just had an ultrasonic cleaning. I was not familiar with this type of cleaning. About a day or so later I was running my tongue over my teeth and the back upper/lower teeth surfaces felt rough. All 12! All of these teeth have had corrective work…a variety of crowns, fillings, etc. I returned to the dentist with this complaint and his position was that it was normal wearing. I think it odd that all of these teeth “aged” simultaneously. Also metal at one surface edge is showing thru the white surface of one molar crown. I think this was not the case before cleaning. I have very, very clean teeth and have no stains and very little plaque.

    • The roughness you are referring to may be related to recession (root exposure) many individuals have areas of recession primarily on the cheek side of back teeth. The reason it can feel rough is because the root does not have an enamel protection which is what gives our teeth their smooth feel. Speak with your hygienist and ask if you have any areas of recession as this should be noted in your chart. These areas can be temperature sensitive and unfortunately cavities can form easily in these regions therefore it would be good knowledge for you to have 🙂

  24. I love the ultrasonic cleaning. It is fast, my teeth feel cleaner. It is slightly painful, and teeth roots feel sensitive for a few days after, but that is just because the tarter is gone. I’m almost 50 and never had a cavity, root canal, or extraction. My dentist, who has been doing my teeth since age 20, died a few years ago. (So, I’ve been getting this done for 30 years now.) It was hard to find a practice that used the ultrasonic scaler for regular cleaning. Also, the dentists don’t clean my teeth – like my old dentist did. Hygienist’s do it now. I never felt my teeth were as white or as a clean when done manually. My understanding is it cannot be used if you have a lot of dental work, because it will also remove those. I am not sure if that is true, but sounds plausible. Anyway, I am huge fan of the ultrasonic cleaning. It’s the only way to go!

  25. I’ve just returned from my hygienist today and I have been getting the ultra-sonic treatment for the past 3-4 years. I don’t have so much of an issue with the sonic treatment itself, but rather with the freezing cold water that is used in it. When I asked my hygienist to adjust the temperature control a little, her reply was ‘what temperature control?’ Apparently the sadist who designed this equipment thought it a wheeze to blast ice cold water at sensitive teeth. Technology in this area seems not to have kept pace with other environments. If you look around any dental practice you will see high-tech computers that can display HD images and record any amount of data about its patients, while the equipment being used would be, for the most part, totally recognisable to a practitioner of the mid 19 century. I had to ask her to stop the treatment and resort to the hand tools.

    • Good afternoon 🙂 The reason that warm or hot water cannot be used for this machine is 1) depending on the type used it is vibrating over 10,000 times per minute (this is why it is referred to as an ultrasonic) therefore the water keeps the tool from overheating the enamel of the tooth and therefore potentially harming the nerve and 2) bacteria harbour in warm moist environments therefore the cooler tempertuate is to help with bacterial control. I myself have cold sensitive teeth and understand the discomfort this can cause however am understanding of the more detrimental risks of using warmer/hotter water temperature 🙂

  26. Six months ago I had ultrasonic cleaning and it was quite painful. At my latest examination I was told that two fillings had fallen out. I expressed surprise , but the dentist said that it happens. I was then sent to the hygienist and again experienced pain. This time I noted that it occurred when he inserted it between my teeth. I suspect it was a tight fit. Could the high frequency vibration have loosened the fillings. I am 85, in case that is relevant. The hygienist said before starting the clean that I had only light scaling and slight staining.

  27. I’ve been going to the dentist my entire life twice a year. Up until my last visit, manual planing was done. I have gum recession, so my hygienist was very careful in sensitive areas.

    My last visit was with a new dentist/hygienist. The first thing different was that the hygienist said she was going to polish my teeth first. She told me I might think this was backwards, but that it helped her to see what needed to be cleaned better. Then she used the ultrasonic cleaning method. Absolutely hated it. When she was finished she told me that only one place on my gums had bled…as if that was some accomplishment. I found that strange since I have Never had a problem with gum bleeding at all in all my previous dental visits of 50+ years. Needless to say I’ll not be having that cleaning again.

  28. Hi. The water spray is very cold – too cold to be honest during the ultrasonic scaling. It is probably just connected to the cold water supply. Is there a chance my hygenist could add hot water just to lower the temp a tiny little?

  29. Fantastic to read these comments in this ultrasonic scaling that I endured yesterday – never again – it was not only painful, it seemed like torture to me. Close to being water boarded I am sure…. I am guessing that it is very effective, however, I prefer the scaling method. I see that it is time to let this provider know that I was NOT happy with this procedure. I should have picked up on a less than pleasant visit when I was taken to the torture room which was blasting rock music & had a cold fan going which was aimed directly at my head. While I respect anyone even wanting to go into that profession, this is one aspect where a lot of gentle care and being able to be in sync with a patient is called for big time. Well, I had my share for the next six month and will speak up when making my next appt. – after all – it concerns my teeth/mouth ! Better luck to whomever reads this… 🙂

  30. On May 10, 2017 I had an ultrasonic cleaning for the first time. When it got around to my molars, it generated an excruciatingly high-pitched tone and serious discomfort. I had to ask the hygienist to STOP immediately! And, it aggravated my existing tinnitus (ringing in the ears). I urge you to discuss the necessity of ultrasound BEFORE the hygienist begins to blast away. This treatment can be very dangerous. Frankly, I am shocked there is NO pre-treatment cautionary discussion before you are exposed to this piercing, painful, potentially damaging procedure.

  31. I have had ultrasonic cleanings and, especially on my top teeth, it is excruciating. This is not from placing the instrument in proximity to the gumline, but rather when it is applied to the main parts of the teeth. I am quite certain that my nerves are just more exposed/sensitive than some people, and this procedure is no longer possible for me. The hand instruments work just fine and cause little to no discomfort and no bleeding whatsoever.

  32. I go get my teeth cleaned tomorrow and imma be sure to ask for the old fashion hand cleaning. i refuse to endure that pain bad enough my bottom 4 are aching from this calculus build up. Pray for me. How much does cleaning normally cost?

  33. I had Ultrasonic cleaning for the first time last week- I jumped out of the chair [almost] when the Dentist hit a nerve. Hit several nerves after that but she just told me to tough it out. A week later one of my fillings fell out.
    Stands to reason that if Ultrasonic knocks off tartar it will knock out fillings. So I will go back to my old dentist for the standard cleaning and fork out $100 probably for a new filling

  34. Had my first ultrasonic cleaning today. It was pretty painful, but I do not think it was that much more painful than manual cleanings I have had in the past.

    I am more concerned about the vibration of the instrument against my teeth. Can’t such vibration speed up the failure of any bonding agent used to affix crowns? Or, can such vibration literally shake loose existing fillings? I found one research article stating “ultrasonic instrumentation and thermal cycling influence the tensile bond strength of crowns cemented with zinc phosphate cement,” and “caused a significant reduction in tensile bond strength.” Now I realize zinc phosphate cement may be just one of several options, but I would think that no matter what the bonding agent is, if the ultrasonic process damages one bonding agent in a “significant” way, it could also have the potential to do similar damage to others.

    I really would like to see more objective studies on this phenomenon; studies not funded by manufacturers or those that that have a vested interest in this technology.

  35. My teeth do not feel as clean after Ultrasonic scaling. They feel as there is a coating or tiny tiny bumps left behind. Not smooth . It is ok for spot cleaning, but I hate the feel after.

  36. My sister noticed that her teeth is quite yellowish due to a lack of dental cleaning. Well, I also agree with you that the teeth must be cleaned and polished. Thank you for sharing here as well the importance of using the right equipment in removing the tartar.

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