Vibration of ultrasonic scalers with scanning laser vibrometry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Scanning laser vibrometry is a non-invasive method of accurately measuring the vibratory characteristics of oscillating objects. The aim of this study was to observe, using a scanning laser vibrometer (SLV), the vibration patterns of dental ultrasonic scaler tips and to assess the effects of water flow rate and power setting on these patterns whilst operating the tips in an unloaded environment. METHODS: A 30kHz ultrasonic scaler (TFI-10, Dentsply) was fixed in position and a laser beam from the SLV was focused onto the tip. The laser, guided by a virtual measurement grid, was scanned over the oscillating tip surface. Scans were taken with the laser beam perpendicular to the long axis of the front face of the tip. RESULTS: Oscillation frequencies and the displacement amplitude at the unconstrained end of the tip were measured for various power/water settings. Vibration nodal positions were recorded for the various settings and were found to occur approximately 4mm from the free end of the tip. At low and medium power settings, tip displacement amplitude was reduced by increased water flow. At high power settings, combined with a high flow rate, the water leaves the body of the instrument as a jet. This left the tip relatively unconstrained, allowing it to oscillate at increased displacement amplitudes. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the SLV is able to accurately characterise the movement of oscillating ultrasonic scaler tips. The tips are affected by power setting and water flow rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002


  • periodontology
  • scanning laser vibrometry
  • ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Vibration of ultrasonic scalers with scanning laser vibrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this