Dental scalers are specialized tools used by dentists and hygienists to remove plaque, tartar, and other debris from teeth. Powered by magnetostrictive, piezoelectric, or odontosont technology, these devices feature a tip that is cooled by a jet of water. The tip comes in different shapes and some units offer interchangeable inserts, which allow for various functions such as subgingival scraping, root smoothing, and periodontal pocket management. Newer inserts with thinner and longer tips even have their own water supply and can be used for subgingival bags. When using a dental scaler, it is important to remember that no more than 10 seconds should be spent on an individual tooth and that the tip should never be pressed with more than an ounce of pressure.
This prevents the tip from vibrating and reduces its effectiveness to that of a manual scraper. It also concentrates heat in one area, which can be lethal for the pulp. The best practice is to select a group of three or four teeth and scale them in sequence to prevent one tooth from overheating. At home, dental scalers can also be used between visits to help scrape, prick, and prick teeth in ways that brushing cannot. However, it is important to remember that dental scalers should only be used under the guidance of a dentist or hygienist.