Our dental hygienists often utilize ultrasonic scalers during preventive cleanings and periodontal (gum) treatments. An ultrasonic scaler is a special tooth cleaner that uses gentle ultrasonic vibrations and sound waves to help break up and remove soft plaque film and hard calculus (tartar) deposits above and below the gum line. A fine mist of water flows from the tip to help flush away loose bacteria and debris from around your teeth and gums. This technology does not take away the need for regular cleaning with hand instruments, but does reduce the amount of hand "scraping" needed. Also, ultrasonic scalers are very effective for stain removal, have adjustable power and water settings to maximize your comfort, and are especially useful in difficult to clean areas such as deep gum pockets, areas of bone loss between tooth roots, and around braces. Many patients comment that they like the ultrasonic scaler so much that they want it used on them at each cleaning visit. Ultrasonic scalers have been used in dental offices since the 1950's, but have become more common in recent years due to the availability of small, thin tips that make it possible to clean comfortably around the gum line.