In this product test drive, Alyssa Aberle, RDH, shares her experiences using the newest ultrasonic scaler from Henry Schein's updated ACCLEAN product line.
Since they were first introduced 70 years ago, ultrasonic scalers have become an essential tool for dental hygienists. The ultrasonic vibrations and use of water during scaling allows clinicians to remove biofilm and calculus from the entire tooth surface and below the gumline in a much more efficient and ergonomic way when compared with the use of hand instrumentation. Ultrasonic scalers allow us to reach deeper and access difficult areas such as furcation areas that we are often unable to do with hand instrumentation.
There are two types of ultrasonic scalers on the market – piezoelectric and magnetostrictive. While I’ve used both types of ultrasonic scalers, I have seen magnetostrictive units used in most offices. One of the main benefits of using magnetostrictive technology is all sides of the tip are active, meaning you can use the lateral sides, face, or back when scaling. This allows more options to adapt the tip to the tooth surfaces and access hard to reach areas.
Working in a community health center that has 5 dental clinics in addition to a mobile program, I thought I had used almost every ultrasonic unit on the market. But recently, I was able to test drive the new ACCLEAN™ Ultrasonic Scaler by Henry Schein which was just launched this year.
Many of us hygienists recognize the ACCLEAN trademark from Henry Schein’s private label products. Henry Schein recently updated their packaging and lineup of products, based on feedback from dental hygienists, to better meet the needs of hygienists. One of their newest products is the ACCLEAN™ Ultrasonic Scaler which was developed internally by Henry Schein's product development team.
Probably my favorite feature of this ultrasonic scaler is that it is compatible with both 25K and 30K inserts. With this feature, the ultrasonic scaler automatically identifies the frequency of the insert you’re using and works immediately. There are no special attachments or adjustments that need to be made. So many of us have ultrasonic inserts at our office that were for an older unit and no longer work in our current unit, but this is no longer an issue. No more running back to the sterilization area to get another set of tips because you accidentally grabbed the wrong one.
Another one of my favorite features was the auto purge. As the infection control coordinator in my office, I know how important waterline safety is. But, I also know how busy our days can be and the last thing we want to do is sit with our foot on the pedal to purge our lines. The ACCLEAN™ Ultrasonic Scaler has an auto purge feature. You can literally put the handle in the sink, press a button, and let the unit purge your lines for you while you set up your room and get ready for your day.
This unit comes with a removable and autoclavable sheath so that you can sterilize between patients, fully adjustable water settings, and fully adjustable power settings. Both the water settings and power settings are easy to use dials located directly on the unit itself. I found it very convenient to adjust the water and power when setting up the unit. The unit has a corded foot pedal that is round, so you can press from any side or angle, which helps with ergonomics.
There is a hands-free boost mode which gives you a temporary increase in power for removing tenacious calculus. The boost feature can be enabled directly from the foot pedal by pressing and holding the foot pedal down. This was very easy to activate and use without having to go back to the unit. There is a triangular light on the unit that lights up when it is in boost mode as well, so you can easily identify when you’re using that feature and ensure you aren’t increasing the power when you don’t need it.
The feature that I think I will really love, but haven’t quite gotten used to yet is the cruise control mode. Like many hygienists, I have become increasingly aware of my ergonomics at work lately, and I am really excited about the option for cruise control. This mode enables you to use the ultrasonic scaler without keeping your foot pressed on the pedal. As you move around your patient, this feature eliminates the need for you to manage another cord and move the pedal around with you. I do think that getting used to this feature has a little bit of a learning curve.
To activate the cruise control mode, you push the CRUISE button on the unit before you begin scaling. Once you are positioned in the patient’s mouth and ready to begin, you can hit the foot pedal once to turn it on and the cruise control is now activated. In order to turn the scaler off, you push the pedal once more. Not having used this feature before on any other ultrasonic scalers, it was hard to get used to having it as an option, but I do think it’s a great benefit and will be very helpful for ergonomics in the long run. The one thing that I wish was that I could resume the cruise control from the pedal as well, after turning it off,without going back to the unit to enable it again.
The ACCLEAN™ Ultrasonic Scaler by Henry Schein really is an excellent unit. It combines all my favorite features from other scalers I’ve tried and makes my day that much easier and more efficient. They’ve really given a lot of attention to detail and addressed every concern from infection control to ergonomics to ease of use. If you’re looking for a cost-effective option that doesn’t cut corners with its features, this is the unit for you. Pull out all those inserts that have been waiting to be used, but were the wrong frequency, and start scaling.