Ultrasonic Scaler Oscillations and Tooth-surface Defects

Simon Lea, Bernhard Felver, Gabriel Landini, Anthony Walmsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Damage to tooth root surfaces may occur during ultrasonic cleaning with both piezoelectric and magnetostrictive ultrasonic scalers. It is unclear which mechanism causes more damage or how their mechanism of action leads to such damage. Our null hypothesis is that tooth-surface defect dimensions, resulting from instrumentation with ultrasonic scalers, are independent of whether the scaler probe is magnetostrictive or piezoelectric. Piezoelectric and magnetostrictive ultrasonic scaler probes were placed into contact against polished dentin samples (100 g/200 g). Resulting tooth surfaces were evaluated with a laser metrology system. Ultrasonic instrumentation produced an indentation directly related to the bodily movement of the probe as it made an impact on the surface. Load, generator power, and probe cross-section significantly affected probe vibration and defect depth/volume. Defect dimensions were independent of generator type. Magnetostrictive probes oscillated with greater displacement amplitudes than piezoelectric probes, but produced similar defects. This may be due to the cross-sectional shape of the probes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Early online date25 Mar 2009
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2009


  • tooth-surface damage
  • periodontology
  • performance
  • ultrasonic scaler
  • vibration
  • laser vibrometry
  • laser profilometry


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