Ultrasonic scalers are a valuable tool in the dental hygienist’s arsenal. Special ultrasonic scaler tips can be used to remove tenacious supragingival or subgingival calculus or to remove heavy amounts of plaque at the gingival margin. It is also useful when cleaning around orthodontic brackets. With this valuable tools comes some routine care and maintenance, and it is important to keep this tips in pristine shape for efficiency and patient safety.
Measure Tip Length
When purchasing ultrasonic scaler inserts, there should be a length guide included for tips. It is important to regularly check that these tips are staying long enough to be efficient and when deemed too short should be replaced. A tip that has worn too much can cause ineffective calculus removal and make the scaling process much less efficient. Keeping tips at a proper length is as important as keeping hand scalers sharpened.
Ultrasonic scaler tips typically have one to two O rings that allow for smooth entry into the ultrasonic scaler unit. When these O rings get too worn, it can be difficult to insert and remove the tips in the unit, creating safety concerns for the operator. It can also damage the entire unit, so it is important to replace the dental O rings when needed. It is much more cost effective to replace an O ring than to replace an entire ultrasonic scaler unit.
Use Appropriate Power and Water Levels
Using an unnecessarily high power setting on an ultrasonic scaler can damage a patient’s tooth; not using appropriate water levels can cause the tip to overheat and also cause tooth damage. Be careful to follow all guidelines for these settings.
Ultrasonic scalers have changed the face of dental hygiene, making it a more efficient and comfortable process. With routine maintenance and care, your ultrasonic scaler can continue to do its job well.