Figure 3-5.Operating positions-left-handed operator.
alone. The use of the mouth mirror will assist you to
obtain a complete view.
Plaque is nearly transparent and difficult to see
without the use of a stain or disclosing agent to
highlight its presence. These agents color the plaque,
but they do not color clean tooth surfaces. The
coloring agent used in disclosing is a harmless red food
dye and comes in the form of tablets or liquid. Follow
the manufacturer's instructions for use. After your
initial examination of the patient, apply a disclosing
agent to reveal the presence of plaque before the
prophylaxis procedures. This will help you and the
patient identify what must be cleaned and will assist in
TYPES, USES, AND MAINTENANCE OF
The ultrasonic scaler, air polishing unit, and sonic
scaler were designed for use in oral prophylaxis and
other periodontal procedures.
Before operating any equipment, ensure you
are familiar with its use, operation, and safety
Before you begin any scaling procedures, make a
thorough appraisal of the condition of the patients
mouth. This examination serves three purposes:
Determines the needs of the patient
Determines the sequence in which these needs
must be met
Provides you with useful information for
conducting the dental health counseling
The screening examination has two phases:
Observation of the entire oral mucosa
Examination of the teeth and gingival tissues
Look for ulcers or sores on the lips, skin, or
intraoral mucosa. These may be the result of viral or
other infections, which could preclude your treatment
of the patient. You can also ask the patient if he or she
has any sensitive or painful teeth or areas in the mouth
about which you should know. If you see something
during your examination that you do not recognize as a
normal feature of the anatomy, check with a dental
officer before proceding.
The ultrasonic scaler converts electrical energy
into 30,000 microscopically small mechanical strokes
per second. The strokes are transmitted to an insert tip.
Combined with a water spray and a light touch, the
activated tip rapidly and gently dislodges plaque,
calculus, and stain from the teeth. As you can imagine,
the ultrasonic unit can generate a great amount of heat.
For this reason, water is kept running through the entire
unit and expelled from the working end of the
instrument. Water aids to cool the tip of the instrument
and the tooth structure. The water also serves to wash
away debris. The vibratory motion of the tip transmits
mechanical energy to water that creates powerful
bursts of collapsing bubbles called cavitation.
Cavitation aids in the mechanical removal of plaque
and calculus by the vibrating tip.
The four major components of the unit are an
electronic generator, a hand piece assembly, a set of
interchangeable inserts, and a foot-controlled switch.
A picture of an ultrasonic scaler unit is shown in