Air polishing has been compared to scaling and rubber-cup polishing for efficiency and effectiveness of stain and plaque removal. The literature overwhelmingly supports the use of the air polisher as an efficient and effective means of removing extrinsic stain and plaque from tooth surfaces. Air polishing requires less time than traditional polishing methods and removes stain three times as fast as scaling with comers. In addition, less fatigue to the operator has been mentioned as an important benefit of air polishing.

Dental hygienists generally use several tools during a dental cleaning, including a tooth polisher and a scaler. Tooth polishers buff teeth and eliminate tiny pieces of plaque. They generally have several different sized heads for cleaning hard to reach places. Scalers look a bit like metal hooks and are used to remove hard plaque, especially between teeth. Some people find the use of a scaler uncomfortable, depending on their sensitivity level, pain threshold, the length of time since the last cleaning, and the extent of plaque build-up.

Researchers and manufacturers caution against prolonged use of the air polisher on cementum and dentin. When moderate to heavy stain is present on root surfaces, dental hygienists are often faced with the problem of removing it with the least alteration of cementum. One choice is to leave the stain and explain to the patient that stain is not associated with oral disease and will not harm the teeth or gingiva since it is only a cosmetic concern. To many patients, this is not a viable choice since appearance is considered so important in today’s society.

Other choices include removing the stain with a rubber cup polisher and prophylaxis paste; sonic, ultrasonic scalers; Dental Hand Instruments or the air polisher. Wilkins recommends removing as much stain as possible during root planing with curets. However, in one in-vitro study, air polishing was shown to remove less root structure than a curet in simulated three-month recalls for three years. Woodall agrees that the air polisher may be preferable to curets in this situation. Since less root structure is removed, decreased root-surface( root canal treatment equipment ) sensitivity also may be a benefit.

Because polishing with a rubber cup and prophylaxis paste has been shown to remove the fluoride rich layer of enamel and cause marked loss of cementum and dentin over time, this method of stain removal has been challenged Rubber cup polishing with prophylaxis pastes, therefore, may not be a suitable method for moderate-to-heavy stain removal on enamel, cementum, or dentin.

Original source: http://www.oyodental.com/blog/2017/05/02/how-to-use-ultrasonic-scaler-to-do-dental-cleaning/