Pain during prophylaxis treatment elicited by two power-driven instruments

J Clin Periodontol. 2005 May;32(5):535-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2005.00707.x.


Background: Sonic scalers have an elliptical and piezoceramic ultrasonic scalers a linear oscillation pattern. Thus, a sonic scaler "hammers" the tooth surface, irrespective of its alignment to the tooth, whereas a piezoceramic ultrasonic scaler may oscillate parallel to the tooth surface and gently remove calculus if the alignment is correct. The aim of this study was to measure pain on a visual analogue scale (VAS) during removal of supragingival calculus on mandibular incisors with a sonic or an ultrasonic scaler.

Material and methods: Seventy-four periodontally healthy subjects with supragingival calculus on the mandibular incisors were treated with both a sonic and a piezoceramic ultrasonic scaler in a split-mouth design. The sequence of instrument application and allocation of instruments to jaw side were randomized. Patient comfort was assessed with a VAS after treatment.

Results: The VAS results did not show any difference between the two instrumentation modalities.

Conclusion: For calculus removal during prophylaxis the type of power-driven instrument does not seem to have an impact on perceived pain. This means that the oscillation pattern does not influence the pain experience.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dental Calculus / therapy
  • Dental High-Speed Equipment / adverse effects*
  • Dental Scaling / adverse effects*
  • Dental Scaling / instrumentation
  • Dentin Sensitivity / etiology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Facial Pain / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incisor
  • Male
  • Mandible
  • Pain Measurement
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sonication / adverse effects*
  • Sonication / instrumentation
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / instrumentation