Ultrasonic Scaler Noise Complaints
Many patients are sensitive to the high-pitch noise produced by ultrasonic scalers. They ask me not to use ultrasonic instrumentation at all. It is very frustrating because in some cases I cannot finish scaling without using a power scaler.
First of all, I would make sure to explain the benefits of using ultrasonic technology, and the importance of integrating best practices as advances are made in the science of periodontal therapy. Let the patient know it is our duty as licensed practitioners to provide evidence-based treatment protocols. There are significant advantages to incorporating power scaling in your therapy, just as there is equal benefit to including hand instrumentation in that therapy. Patients who are aware of the rationale behind your treatment approach are more likely to accept it without complaint. If they voice objection, I would listen with empathy and acknowledge that, while technology can bring less-than-desirable stimuli (sound, vibration, water), the beneficial effects of ultrasonic therapy on the patient’s health more than make up for the temporary inconvenience. When I have finished the conversational piece of preparing the patient for therapy and am ready to begin ultrasonic treatment, I tuck a soft cotton towel around their cheeks and chin to cover their neck from condensing aerosol droplets. This simple step can go a long way in making the experience more palatable for the patient. I would also recommend offering noise-cancelling headphones with music of their choosing, or even earplugs, to reduce the sound effects of power scaling that patients find objectionable. I hope these suggestions provide the solution you’re looking for, and I commend you on your dedication to clinical practice!