Improved biofilm removal using cavitation from a dental ultrasonic scaler vibrating in carbonated water

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The use of cavitation for improving biofilm cleaning is of great interest. There is no system at present that removes the biofilm from medical implants effectively and specifically from dental implants. Cavitation generated by a vibrating dental ultrasonic scaler tip can clean biomaterials such as dental implants. However, the cleaning process must be significantly accelerated for clinical applications. In this study we investigated whether the cavitation could be increased, by operating the scaler in carbonated water with different CO2 concentrations. The cavitation around an ultrasonic scaler tip was recorded with high speed imaging. Image analysis was used to calculate the area of cavitation. Bacterial biofilm was grown on surfaces and its removal was imaged with a high speed camera using the ultrasonic scaler in still and carbonated water. Cavitation increases significantly with increasing carbonation. Cavitation also started earlier around the tips when they were in carbonated water compared to non-carbonated water. Significantly more biofilm was removed when the scaler was operated in carbonated water. Our results suggest that using carbonated water could significantly increase and accelerate cavitation around ultrasonic scalers in a clinical situation and thus improve biofilm removal from dental implants and other biomaterials.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105338
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Early online date3 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021