I relocated to Austin last year. My new hygienist used an ultrasonic cleaner on my teeth during my last dental cleaning to remove some stains because he wasn’t able to remove some stains manually. I was grateful for his thoroughness. However, later the same week I noticed that my left canine and lateral incisor veneers cracked. Is this a coincidence? I called the dental office to speak with the hygienist to ask for the name of the tool he used, and he said it was a magnetostrictive ultrasonic cleaner. I have an appointment in two weeks with the hygienist and dentist for them to examine my veneers. Is this tool known to crack veneers? I want to gather as much info as possible before my appointment. Thanks. Lourdes
We understand your concerns and will provide some insight on how and when ultrasonic scalers can help or harm your gums, teeth, or porcelain veneers.
What Is an Ultrasonic Scaler?
An ultrasonic scaler is a high-speed handheld device that removes plaque and removes debris in the periodontal pocket. Scalers have been proven effective for calculus and stain removal during dental cleanings. The types of ultrasonic scalers are piezoelectric and magnetostrictive.
Piezoelectric ultrasonic scalers require expert technique and have more potential for damaging your teeth or cosmetic dental work. However, both scalers require training and understanding of preventing damage to your teeth or dental restorations, including porcelain veneers.
Do Ultrasonic Scalers Ruin Veneers?
Ultrasonic scalers do not ruin porcelain veneers. However, a dental hygienist’s lack of attention to detail while using an ultrasonic scaler can chip or crack porcelain veneers. For example, using the tip of the scaler on the surface of a porcelain veneer can fracture the veneers. Also, improper techniques can nick or roughen tooth roots, causing increased plaque and calculus buildup—even gum disease.
Consult a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist
If you confirm that the ultrasonic scaler damaged your porcelain veneers, we recommend consulting a dentist with extensive post-graduate cosmetic dentistry training. The dentist will assess the condition of your veneers to determine your options to improve or replace them. A hygienist at a skilled cosmetic dentist’s office will ensure your gums and teeth are clean without damaging your gum tissue, teeth, or porcelain veneers.