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how high do you keep the setting on the cavitron ultrasonic scaler

on my Cavitron ultrasonic scaler I avoid going beyond the “blue” or “comfort zone” I recentLy discovered that other hygienists in my office routinely go beyond this power level even when there patient does not have local anesthesia on board. Am I burnishing calculus?? What is the norm?

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I’m with you on this one. I was taught that to ensure that calculus is removed and that it is not burnished, it is important to select appropriate tips and to use the correct power setting based on patient need. Ultrasonics are designed to definitively remove calculus at low to moderate power settings. I have read: “Use the least amount of power needed to get the job done. I’m not sure where the misnomer of “more is better” came from, but in most cases, more is not better! You can damage healthy tooth structure if you are not careful with your selection of power setting for the task. If you control your settings, you can provide a more efficient prophylaxis, do less damage to the enamel/cementum (in many cases, cause no damage), and keep your patient comfortable through the process.” If off is at the 6:00 position, I don’t tend to turn it up passed the 2:00 position. For light deposits I keep it around the 10-11 position and as deposits increase I slowly increase the power, again not going passed 2. Personally, if a hygienist turned the power all the way up, I would be jumping out of the chair (and I have healthy gingiva), so I’d imagine that patients feel the same way. Here are two links to studies that show that a higher power doesn’t necessarily mean better calculus removal:http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0103-64402009000100010&script=sci_arttext http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7500240

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