Background: A recently introduced piezo-driven ultrasonic device (Vector) generates longitudinal oscillations. As a result, the instrument tip moves parallel to the tooth surface. By avoiding vertical oscillations, maintenance treatment with the Vector device should be less painful than treatment with conventional systems. We investigated whether patients perceive treatment with the Vector device as less painful than with a conventional ultrasonic device, and whether the clinical efficacy of the Vector device is comparable with that of the conventional ultrasonic device in maintenance patients.
Material and methods: Thirty-eight maintenance patients with moderate to advanced periodontal disease took part in this prospective, randomized controlled clinical study. Each patients had to have at least two teeth with probing depths of >4 mm. They were treated either with Dentsply (n=22) at a reduced power setting or with the Vector device (n=16). The observation period was 6 months. Probing pocket depth, attachment level, and bleeding upon probing were assessed at six sites on each treated tooth by a blinded investigator Patient were asked to report perceived pain during instrumentation with a visual analog scale immediately after treatment, in the evening of the treatment day, and in the evenings 1 and 2 days after treatment.
Results: Bleeding on probing, probing depth, and attachment level improved in both instrumentation groups from baseline to month 6; however, there was no difference between the two instrumentation modalities. The patients perceived treatment with neither instrument as unpleasant, and their perception of pain intensity both during instrumentation and on the following days did not differ.
Conclusion: In maintenance therapy, clinical efficacy of the vector device is comparable with that of conventional ultrasonic device. It makes no difference whether the ultrasonic device at a reduced power setting or the Vector device is used, since patients perceive both instruments as causing very little pain.