Ultrasonic vs. Hand Instruments – which is more effective?

Periodontitis is a chronic oral infection that results in the breakdown of the tissues and bone that support the teeth.  Deep cleaning is the primary treatment option for patients with generalized chronic periodontitis. 


Dental hygienisits and periodontitis have a gamut of instrumentation and techniques to chose from when combating periodontal disease and removing the bacterial infection.


Many of us have experienced hand-held instrumentation to scrape the hard deposits from the root surface.  Manual instruments come in a variety of shapes and angles, made specifically to fit the anatomy of each of our unique teeth.  Manual instruments need to be used with care and a delicate touch so as not to remove any of the root surface or cementum.  Also, just as a knife dulls, hand-held instruments dull and require continuous sharpening for their optimal performance.  This introduces tremendous variability in the use as a tool for hygienists.


Ultrasonic instrumentation is another, more advanced option for dental hygienists to use in the removal of hard and soft deposits on the teeth.  Ultrasonic instruments incorporate a powerful stream of water and vibration of the instrument tip.  This combination removes plaque without the need for continuous sharpening.  To use each tip optimally, clinicians need advanced training and experience.


There is much debate over which is the better of the two techniques.  Our office has undertaken a study to determine if similar improvements in periodontal outcomes can be achieved using ultrasonic instruments alone versus their combination with hand-held instruments.


Results of this study will be published in a peer-reviewed dental journal in 2020.

More To Explore

Not your typical blog