Imaging and Analysis of Individual Cavitation Microbubbles around Dental Ultrasonic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


Cavitation is a potentially effective and less damaging method of removing biofilm from biomaterial surfaces. The aim of this study is to characterise individual microbubbles around ultrasonic scaler tips using high speed imaging and image processing. This information will provide improved understanding on the disruption of dental biofilm and give insights into how the instruments can be optimised for ultrasonic cleaning. Individual cavitation microbubbles around ultrasonic scalers were analysed using high speed recordings up to a million frames per second with image processing of the bubble movement. The radius and rate of bubble growth together with the collapse was calculated by tracking multiple points on bubbles over time. The tracking method to determine bubble speed demonstrated good inter-rater reliability (intra class correlation coefficient: 0.993) and can therefore be a useful method to apply in future studies. The bubble speed increased over its oscillation cycle and a maximum of 27 ms−1 was recorded during the collapse phase. The maximum bubble radii ranged from 40 to 80 µm. Bubble growth was observed when the ultrasonic scaler tip receded from an area and similarly bubble collapse was observed when the tip moved towards an area, corresponding to locations of low pressure around the scaler tip. Previous work shows that this cavitation is involved in biofilm removal. Future experimental work can be based on these findings by using the protocols developed to experimentally analyse cavitation around various clinical instruments and comparing with theoretical calculations. This will help to determine the main cleaning mechanisms of cavitation and how clinical instruments such as ultrasonic scalers can be optimised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66–72
Early online date24 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Cavitation bubbles
  • Bubble analysis
  • Piezoelectric devices
  • Image processing
  • High speed imaging
  • Ultrasonic dental scalers


Dive into the research topics of 'Imaging and Analysis of Individual Cavitation Microbubbles around Dental Ultrasonic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this