Dental Ultrasonic Scalers are Used Routinly
Basically, there are two types of power driven scalers. Sonic scalers are powered by compressed air and operate at lower frequencies which range between 3000 to 8000 cycles per second. The handpiece is attached to the compressed air line and vibrations are less then the ultrasonic scaler (2000-6500Hz) (tip movement circular). They are low in performance and not used nowadays.An example of this type of scaler is the Star Titan sonic scaler. Also known as air scalers, these scalers use a metal cylinder (rotor) balanced between orings to provide vibration when air pressure is applied. These attach to a standard handpiece coupler on your delivery system and operate at normal handpiece drive air pressure (32-35 psi).
Dental ultrasonic scalers are used routinly in dental clinics and we buy it as a compulsory dental equipment. Ultrasonic scaler are divided into two types: Magnetostrictive Scaler & Piezoelectric Scaler.
1. Magnetostrictive Scaler-Pattern of vibration- elliptical. Used mainly in the United States, all sides of tip are active and work when adapted to tooth. The magnetostrictive ultrasonic scaler uses a magnetostrictive transducer to create magnetic energy which is then converted to mechanical energy at varying frequencies. Magnetostrictive ultrasonic scalers operate between 18000 and 45000 cycles per second. An example of this type is The Cavitron. The movement is generated by passing an electrical current over a stack of metal strips or a metal rod which is attached to the scalers tip. The tip movement can be linear or eliptical and all surfaces are active while in use. These scalers are usually considered easier to use (less technique sensitive) but are sometimes considered as less gentle.
2. Piezoelectric Scaler- Linear vibrations or back and forth vibration. Only two sides of tip are active when applied to surface of tooth. More prominant in Europe and Asia, piezo ultrasonic scaler vibrations are produced by oscillations of a quartz crystal in the handpiece. Piezoelectric units operate between 25000 to 50000 cycles per second. Movement is generated by electricity passing over crystals housed in the handpiece. The tip movement is generally linear and allows two sides of the tip to be active. Piezos are more technique sensitive given the linear motion of the tips. One must use the scaler parallel to the tooth surface to avoid hammering with the piezo tip. When used properly, many consider the piezo to be gentler than magnetostrictive scalers. These differences in the type of movement can generate different root surface alterations following debridement.
Both technologies are considered to be very sound, providing consistent operation over a long period of time. Repairs are typically minor, with most involving the handpiece or tips, which are easily replaceable. One additional consideration would be that most magnetostrictive ultrasonic scaler tips are interchangeable, while piezo ultrasonic scaler tips are typically specific to the manufacturer.
Ultrasonic and sonic scalers appear to attain similar results as hand instruments for removing plaque, calculus and endotoxin. Ultrasonics used at medium power seem to produce less surface damage than hand or sonic scalers. Due to instrument width, power driven Ultrasonic Scaler Tip seems to be more effective in furcations. What matters most is the time spent per tooth and mastery of your particular debridement system.
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