Image courtesy of Dentsply Sirona
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Chairside Impact: Cavitron Ultrasonic Scaler by Dentsply Sirona

March 23, 2022
If you've always used a combination of ultrasonic scaling and hand scaling, it might be time to consider an upgrade. The Cavitron Ultrasonic Scaler is effective and efficient, even on the healthiest of patients.

I recently discovered that a Cavitron ultrasonic scaler could remove 50% more active biofilm than hand scalers alone, and I had to learn more. I didn’t waste any time contacting my local Dentsply Sirona rep, Laura, to get the scoop. Laura sent me a study from the University of Glasgow that compared in-vitro biofilm removal techniques.

We all know biofilm is the main culprit, regardless of the health of our patients, but this study made me wonder, should I be using my Cavitron ultrasonic scaler more consistently? Perhaps even on my healthiest patients, the ones with little to no buildup whom I love to see on my schedule? Sure enough, Laura explained the benefits of using a Cavitron Thinsert on those patients, including the ability to use it for calculus detection, in the same manner I use my ODU 11/12 Explorer.

More "Chairside Impact": 

Now I have a better understanding of all the different Cavitron insert designs and the deposit types they remove. I related this to how I use my hand scalers, because they all have a specific purpose too, and suddenly using more than one insert made sense. I love using my Thinsert on those healthier or light deposit prophy patients, and I know if I see heavy calculus, I should reach for my Powerline 1000. But when patients present with furcations, rotated teeth, and, shall we say, “interesting” anatomy, I know I need to have Slimline left and right inserts ready to go in my armamentarium. Laura also helped me realize that since no two patients present the same, having insert options is a game changer.

Feeling more confident, it was time to get to work. Initially, I was concerned that using multiple inserts on one patient might take too much time. But I quickly realized it’s no different than the time spent swapping out for another hand instrument. Laura gave me a useful insert wear indicator card to easily measure my inserts. I keep mine taped to the inside of my cabinet door and regularly check my inserts for wear. I’ve learned that using a worn insert could cause me to work harder by increasing pressure and adding to my treatment time. Luckily, my office is great at keeping us stocked—there always seems to be a good insert promotion.

I’ve always used a combination of ultrasonic scaling and hand scaling during my prophy appointments. At times, it may seem as though you don’t need to use ultrasonic scaling on healthy patients, that hand scalers are more efficient. However, now that I’m more informed on how a Cavitron ultrasonic scaler removes more active biofilm than hand scaling, I use my Cavitron ultrasonic scaler on everyone. It gives me peace of mind that I’m providing my patients with excellent care that’s effective and efficient. 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the March 2022 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

About the Author

Mandy Macachor, BS, RDH

Mandy Macachor, BS, RDH, is a practicing clinician in San Diego, California, with experience in cosmetic and general practices. She graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2017, continuing her studies to earn a bachelor’s degree in allied health at Northern Arizona University. Macachor was honored to be a recipient of a Today’s RDH Honor Award in 2019. Mandy has a passion for dental mission work and is a volunteer for the Rise Above Foundation Cebu in the Philippines.

Updated February 15, 2022