Ultrasonic dental scaler: associated hazards

J Clin Periodontol. 2003 Feb;30(2):95-101. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-051x.2003.00276.x.


Background: The ultrasonic dental scaler is a valuable tool in the prevention of periodontal disease; however, this equipment has a number of hazards with which it is associated. These include heating of the tooth during scaling, vibrational hazards causing cell disruption, possible platelet damage by cavitation, associated electromagnetic fields that can interrupt pacemakers, auditory damage to patient and clinician and the release of aerosols containing dangerous bacteria.

Objective: To collate the research reported on the various hazards associated with the ultrasonic dental scaler and discuss possible future research areas.

Data sources: The scientific literature was searched using Web of Science, EMBASE and Medline, and the results of these were then hand-searched to eliminate nonrelevant papers.

Conclusions: This review outlines some of the research conducted into these areas of associated hazard in order to assess their significance in the clinical situation, and discusses ideas for future research. Suggestions of recommendations are given, which have been previously investigated for their aid in reducing possible hazards, to ensure the safe working of ultrasonic scalers in the dental practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology
  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / pathology
  • Dental High-Speed Equipment / adverse effects*
  • Dental Pulp / injuries
  • Dental Scaling / adverse effects*
  • Dental Scaling / instrumentation*
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / etiology
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Pacemaker, Artificial
  • Ultrasonics / adverse effects*