Here are a few quick tips to help you get recommitted to some of the fundamentals of ultrasonic instrumentation.
- Insert selection is incredibly important. Several manufacturers offer slim style inserts as well as standard inserts. Slim style (commonly known by brand names such as Slimline, Streamline, etc.) inserts are great for biofilm disruption. These thinner style inserts are typically not effective in calculus removal in patients with moderate-heavy calculus. Slimmer inserts are therefore best used on recare patients or perio maintenance patients. The standard inserts are your go-to choice for periodontal therapy. Check your inventory and be sure to have both types of insert.
- Being mindful of a “featherlike” grasp is key for optimum insert effectiveness. Avoid “pinching” the lower 1-2” of the insert. Instead, try resting the insert in the web between the thumb and forefinger. Extraoral fulcrums are helpful to ensure that the grasp is maintained further back on the handle, thereby decreasing the clinician’s tendency to grasp too close to the insert tip. Squeezing too hard and too close to the tip will decrease the technology’s effectiveness.
- “Featherlike” is also a great descriptor to describe the amount of pressure applied to the tooth during instrumentation. If the clinician applies too much pressure, the effectiveness of the insert is diminished. Burnished calculus is a common outcome of a clinician using too much pressure during instrumentation.
- Each manufacturer offers wear indicator guides that correspond to their particular brand. Therefore, if you have a wear indicator for Hu-Friedy brand inserts, they won’t work on your Dentsply brand inserts and vice versa. The wear indicator guides are IMPERATIVE. If you’re unfamiliar with how to use them, consult with your dealer rep the next time they’re in your office. Using inserts that have lost too much of the working tip causes burnished calculus and therefore decreases clinical outcomes.
- Inspect the magnetostrictive stack. Once the stack gets bent, the ultrasonic insert becomes significantly less effective.
- Using cassettes protects the stacks from getting bent. They’re a smart investment in protecting your ultrasonic inventory.
Inspired Hygiene offers a wide-array of coaching services, including ultrasonic hands-on workshops for your office. Please contact us for more information on ultrasonic training for your team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.237.7230.