Dental Ultrasonic Cleaner

Everything there is to know about dental ultrasonic cleaners

 A dental ultrasonic cleaner is a steel tank that works on ultrasonic technology (ranges from 20–40 kHz) and utilizes a cleaning solution to clean all types of dental instruments. A particular cleaning solution is poured into the tank and mixed with water for cleaning all the dental tools. The cleaning can be performed simply by adding water in the tank, but for efficient scrubbing, a cleaning solution is necessary. Otherwise, dirt, blood, saliva, calculus, or other biological material that stick with the tools while working may contaminate them. 

The scrubbing efficiency depends on the sound waves technology, the cleaning solution used, and the overall size of both the tank and tools. Cleaning the instruments is a cavitation process. Sound waves generate hundreds of thousands of small bubbles that burst to break the chemical bonds holding the debris with the instruments. When sound waves travel through the solutions, they split the water off, and as a result, generate tiny bubbles. These small bubbles grow to their maximum size and then burst. This creates a temperature of over 500°C and a pressure of 10,000psi, responsible for the equipment's extraordinary cleaning. If the dental cleaner is powerful, the parts will get cleaned very fast. Generally, subjects are cleaned easily in four to seven minutes, but it can take longer depending upon the amount of debris that needs cleaning.

The benefit of using an ultrasonic cleaner is that it does not destruct the fragile and complicated parts of the instruments and scrub off debris from every nook and cranny of devices. Moreover, the process of sterilization cannot be effective if the tools are not already adequately cleaned. Different enzymes are now used with the cleaning solutions because they break down any blood or saliva on the equipment and accelerate purification. The frequently used ones are proteases and amylases. 

The solution is changed religiously to keep the whole process ultimately productive. While utilizing the cleaner, it is also imperative to protect it for using it for a long time. To ensure this, use the solutions concordant with the tools and the metal tank. Typically, alkaline solutions are the best. Also, no disinfectants are used in the tank as the purpose is to clean, not to disinfect. Sometimes, add rust inhibitors to avoid the rusting of the metal.

History of ultrasonic cleaners

In the course of history, scientists have studied sound waves for a very long time. In 1790, the discovery of the echolocation phenomena used by bats brought the first step towards the development of ultrasound. The complete details of the whole echolocation were documented by a biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani. During World War I, ultrasound technology was accelerated because of its importance in detecting underwater submarines. 

The first product, similar to an ultrasonic cleaner, came into existence in the 1950s. At that time, they were also used in industries with bigger setups to clean delicate parts of machinery. In around 1970, their use as a regular, affordable home device became common. Nowadays, they are frequently used in the medical field for cleaning dental, surgical, and other metal instruments. 

Indications for using ultrasonic cleaners

Medical kits may include both disposable and some reusable items. The reusable ones should be cleaned and sterilized for further use. For that, you need to place the reusable ones for disinfection in washer-disinfector (WD), use a cleaner before disinfection to remove any debris or biological contaminant present on the surfaces of the tools. Next, you should clean the viral and bacterial layer to some extent with cleaners, but disinfection and sterilization are also necessary.

The tools that can be put into the cleaner while sparing headpieces include dental mirrors, probes, college tweezer, Coupland elevator, periosteal elevator, spoon excavator, periodontal probe, forceps, scalers, curette, explorer probe, and consumer products like dentures and retainers.

The ease and efficiency with which the cleaners sanitize the instruments and dislodge all the debris and biological contaminants on the surfaces make the ultrasonic cleaner a preferable choice for many.

Complications

The cleaning process is comprehensive, and usually, there are not many complications with the instrument, but some possible complications are:

  • Some instruments are sensitive to cavitation phenomena, which might damage the tools and create small comet-like spots. 
  • If all the heavier and lighter tools are dipped together, it might affect the scrubbing process, and the smaller ones might not have a thorough cleaning.
  • Using aggressive or ill-suited chemicals in the process can create small holes, dents, or pits in metal tools.
  • If items are already cracked or have some dents, then sound waves will further act aggressively and damage the tools.

General specifications of dental ultrasonic cleaners

There are several dental ultrasonic cleaners in the market, with different specifications and designs; however, we will mention the general specs:

  • Stainless steel tank 
  • Ultrasonic transducer 
  • Frequency and power controls
  • User-friendly design
  • Timer
  • Temperature controls
  • Automatic closure of the operation after opening the lid
  • Options of load carriers
  • Tank drain-tap 
  • Data logger for keeping records
  • Frequency modulators 
  • Variable Internal dimensions of the tank and mesh basket 
  • Dual-frequency units (37 kHz and 80 kHz) (Frequency of 37 kHz is ideal)
  • Sweep mode for uniform distribution of energy.
  • Pulse mode to remove firmly adhered contaminants
  • A timer to set cycle duration 
  • Provided with a degas mode
  • Heater up to 80° C

How to use it

Before cleaning the instruments, first, immerse all the germicidal or enzymatic solution tools and scrub all tools ultrasonically before drying.

  • Choose a recommended cleaner for washing the dental equipment.
  • Use authorized detergent products in the cleaner bath that readily clean the equipment. It is highly economical for washing reusable equipment.
  • To thoroughly clean the instruments and to make sure the tools are dipped fully in detergent, place them in a specially designed basket, using handles.
  • An efficient control center regulates the time required for the cleansing of the instrument and the adjustment of temperature, and then the device is turned ON.
  • Keep the temperature of the solution at 42°C. Otherwise, temperature above this range will cause the particles to adhere to the instruments, and it becomes difficult to take them off by sterilization.
  • Upon completing the cleansing process, the instruments are washed out with water to scrape off the solution's impurities.
  • After completing the process, subject the instruments for sterilization and disinfection steps. Moreover, sometimes as intermediate step barrier milk is used to grease tools and prevent rusting

Market Leaders

Here is a listing of the ultrasonic cleaners that you can buy according to your requirements:

  • NEY Ultrasonik
  • Branson Ultrasonics
  • KAVO Quattrocare
  • Dentsply

Conclusion

Dental ultrasonic cleaners are cleansing equipment that remove all the dirt, plaque, and biological contaminant attached to dental surgical instruments' surface. They utilize sound waves technology and clean them using the process of cavitation. Their use in dental clinics is also very common. A wide range is available in the market, with all the cleaners provided with ultrasonic transducer, tank, and power generator. You can also customize your dental cleaner according to your need. They are environmentally friendly, less expensive, time-efficient, robust, and clean even the smallest parts. The level of cleansing provided by them is remarkable, and it makes them superior to other methods of cleaning.

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