Dentaltown November 2017 - 44

message board

Our Hygienist Does Not
Use the Ultrasonic Scaler
Even given equal outcomes, what serves the patient and the practice better?

Michael1
Member Since: 12/29/16
Post: 1 of 43

She says she does not like it and hand scaling is better. I am a practice manager and not a
dentist and would appreciate your opinions on this. Thanks. ■

6/22/2017

skr RDH
Member Since: 07/21/07
Post: 3 of 43

It's optional, with widely varying opinions. It is a professional choice, but most docs and
hygienists see the benefit of ultrasonic therapy. For sure it is dramatically more difficult to feel
the deposit with an ultrasonic than with a sharp hand instrument, but that is what explorers are
for. Bopping between ultrasonic and explorer makes it take a lot longer compared to hand scaling. But, individual cases can make that very different. Some are just well-suited to ultrasonic
for hours on end and don't forget you get that bacteria-killing action from the ultrasonic.
Some dental professionals feel we should only use ultrasonics and hardly any hand scaling.
Most would say a combination is ideal, individualized to the patient. ■

6/22/2017

davidpalmer
Member Since: 04/14/00
Post: 7 of 43

No way the hygienist can hand scale a tough "I haven't had my teeth cleaned in 10 years"
case at the same speed as using the Cavitron. Attempting such a case would be ridiculous waste
of time with only hand instruments.
Time is money. If my hygienist told me she wouldn't use the Cavitron (which is specifically
designed to remove tough calculus quickly) she would have to find a different job. Likewise,
if she refused to pick up curettes and scalers after using the Cavitron, she would have to work
elsewhere also. Both are important to be effective and efficient. ■
6/23/2017

eeznogood
Member Since: 02/23/06
Post: 8 of 43

I feel the same way. Plus, it seems that most studies are showing a much greater biofilm
disruption with ultrasonics compared to manually, which is the argument that made me insist
that my hygienists use ultrasonics over hand scaling.
That said, in my office, the last word goes to the patient. Some patients simply cannot
tolerate the ultrasonic. These folks then get hand scaled. My hygienists explained to me that
we'd likely lose a big bunch of them if we insisted on the ultrasonic for them. I tested that theory
and it seemed to be true. I guess you need to find the balance where the hygienists are happy
enough, the patients are happy enough and the results are good enough. ■

6/23/2017

davidpalmer
Member Since: 04/14/00
Post: 9 of 43

Good points Karim although I would get my patients numb rather than make my hygienist
work for two hours on a tough case. Extra fidgety patients get numb. As long as you can numb
painlessly, you shouldn't have a problem. If the patient is a normal recall patient, the ultrasonic
shouldn't be necessary anyway. ■
6/23/2017

eeznogood
Member Since: 02/23/06
Post: 10 of 43

44

Yes, I also agree. We have quite a few people that need to be numb. If the hygienist cannot
get the buildup properly, we numb them. To my surprise, many people actually like that. They

NOVEMBER 2017 // dentaltown.com


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