Background: Patient discomfort is one reason for poor compliance with supportive periodontal therapy (SPT). The aim of this study was to compare the levels of discomfort during SPT, using the Vector system and treatment with a conventional ultrasonic scaler.
Methods: Forty-six patients with an SPT programme were debrided using both the Vector system and a conventional piezo-electric scaler (Sirona) in a split mouth design. A visual analogue scale was used to evaluate of pain scores upon completion of treatment. A verbal response scale(VRS) was used to assess discomfort, vibration and noise associated with the scaling system, as well as the volume and taste of the coolant used by these systems.
Results: Patients instrumented with the Vector system experienced approximately half the amount of pain compared with the conventional ultrasonic scaling system. The VRS showed that the Vector system caused less discomfort than the conventional ultrasonic scaling system when assessed for pain, vibration, noise and volume of coolant. These findings were all statistically significant. There was, however, no statistically significant difference between the two systems when assessed for taste.
Conclusion: During SPT the Vector system caused reduced discomforting sensations compared with conventional methods and may be useful in improving compliance with SPT programmes.