Sonochemical analysis of the output of ultrasonic dental descalers

  • David King

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Ultrasonic descalers are used in dentistry to remove calculus and other contaminants from teeth. One mechanism which may assist in the cleaning is cavitation generated in cooling water around the descaler. The spatial distribution of cavitation around three designs of descaler tips and under three load conditions has been observed using sonochemiluminescence from a luminol solution and compared with the vibratory motion of the tips in a water bath, characterised by scanning laser vibrometry. The type of cavitation was confirmed by acoustic emission analysed by a ‘Cavimeter’ supplied by NPL. Surface profilometry and SEM of eroded hydroxyapatite pellets was performed to quantitatively study the erosion caused by a descaler tip in both contact and non-contact modes. Densitometry was used to study the erosion of black ink from a glass microscope slide, and determined that under the majority of conditions, no erosion was demonstrated via cavitation, by descalers operating in non-contact mode, although significant erosion was demonstrated with the tip in contact with the slide.
Date of Award1 Dec 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorGareth Price (Supervisor)


  • descaler
  • surface erosion
  • luminol
  • Sonochemistry
  • hydroxiapatite

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