Scanning Laser Vibrometry and Luminol Photomicrography to map Cavitational Activity around Ultrasonic Scalers

B Felver, DC King, Simon Lea, GJ Price, Anthony Walmsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrasonic dental scalers are clinically used to remove deposits from tooth surfaces. A metal probe, oscillating at ultrasonic frequencies, is used to chip away deposits from the teeth. To reduce frictional heating, water flows over the operated probe in which a bi-product, cavitation, may be generated. The aim of this study is characterise probe oscillations using scanning laser vibrometry and to relate the recorded data to the occurrence of cavitation that is mapped in the course of this research. Scanning laser vibrometry (Polytec models 300-F/S and 400-3D) was used to measure the movement of various designs of operating probes and to locate vibration nodes / anti-nodes at different generator power settings and contact loads (100g and 200g). Cavitation mapping was performed by photographing the emission from a luminol solution with a digital camera (Artemis ICX285). The scaler design influences the number and location of vibration node / anti-node points. For all ultrasonic probes, the highest displacement amplitude values were recorded at the tip. The highest amounts of cavitation around the probes were recorded at the second anti-node measured from the tip. Broad, beaver-tale shaped probes produced more cavitation than slim shaped ones. The design also influences the amount of inertial cavitation around the operated instrument. The clinical relevance is that broad, beaver-tale shaped probes are unlikely to reach subgingival areas of the tooth. Further research is required to design probes that will be clinically superior to cleaning this area of the tooth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number70980Q
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
EventInternational Conference on Vibration Measurements by Laser Techniques: Advances and Applications, 8th - Ancona, Italy
Duration: 18 Jun 2008 → …


  • Displacement Amplitude
  • Inertial Cavitation
  • Ultrasonic Scaler
  • Scanning Laser Vibrometry
  • Luminol Photomicrography


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