In addition to the safe removal of hard and soft deposits, ultrasonic instruments also detoxify areas being treated. The acoustic streaming that occurs at the same time when treated with ultrasonic scalers causes a constant flushing action. This action removes loose debris and bacterial biofilm from the area. Cavitation is created when the vibrating tip comes in contact with the fluid and forms millions of bubbles. When the bubbles implode, they produce shock waves or bursts of energy in the liquid. This burst will tear apart the cell wall of the pathogens. This shift essentially detoxifies the pocket.
There is also some evidence that the heat generated during ultrasonic scaling with magnetostrictive in particular, may contribute to detoxifying the pocket. Additionally, cavitation combined with acoustic turbulence reaches root surfaces beyond where the tip has physical contact with the tooth. In other words, a halo effect occurs reaching additional pathogens through both of these systems.
Another distinct advantage of ultrasonics over hand scaling is the efficient removal of the smear layer. Scaling the root surface not only leaves a smear layer behind, but bacteria may be also “forced” into small tubes from the scaler as it moves across the surface. The ultrasonic, by way of acoustic streaming, cavitation, and acoustic turbulence, literally “power washes” the root surface, to remove the smear layer.