I’m confused. Your site says not to use ultrasonic cleaning devices for bonded teeth, yet you’re selling an ultrasonic toothbrush. Please respond accurately with factual information – does ultrasonic toothbrushes cause any harm to dental restoration – not just abrasion, but do the vibration cause a loosening of the bond (over time or otherwise). Please explain.
– Helen from Florida
Thanks for your question. I looked on the website to see where this confusion might be coming from, and I see where it is put in a fuzzy way and confusing. I have gone back to clarify a couple of the pages and hopefully that will help.
When I tell people not to let a dental hygienist use ultrasonic cleaning devices on their bonded teeth, I am referring to equipment like the Cavitron that has a metal tip that vibrates at ultrasonic speeds. This metal tip can nick the margins of bonding and also of porcelain veneers. In several places on the site I reference these as ultrasonic scalers, but in one place I call them ultrasonic cleaning devices. That’s too broad a term, and I’ve corrected that instance to make it clear I am talking about these ultrasonic scalers.
There are two differences in trying to apply this concept to toothbrushes. The first is that the bristles of these electric toothbrushes are soft and so are incapable of nicking anything solid like dental bonding or porcelain veneers. Rather, they clean and polish, which is a beneficial result. And the second is that the toothbrushes are almost always “sonic” toothbrushes, not “ultrasonic”, which means that they vibrate at slower sonic speeds, which also makes them more gentle.
And there is a dentist who has posted something on the Internet claiming that sonic toothbrushes loosen dental bonding. However, this is without any factual basis. He is the only one saying this, and, in fact, the University of Missouri at Kansas City did a study they published in 1998 which proves that this is a fallacy. They brushed teeth for two years with a sonic toothbrush and could not find any weakening of bond strength. This confirms my own observations.
And don’t misinterpret this to be a condemnation of ultrasonic scalers in the hands of a skilled dental hygienist. While they can be misused and can nick the root surfaces of teeth, when used properly they are a great aid and produce a superior result. My dental hygienist uses this every time I come in for a cleaning, and it leaves my tooth surfaces smooth and spotless.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.