An ultrasonic tooth cleaner is a tool designed to remove dental plaque and tartar from teeth. This type of cleaning used to be performed exclusively by dentists, using hand tools to physically scrape away the plaque and tartar buildup from teeth during a dental cleaning.
Now, more dentists are implementing ultrasonic teeth cleaners to do the same job, but in less time and with less discomfort for the patient. These tools use sonic vibrations to break up deposits on teeth and water to clear away debris.
In this article, we'll review this ultrasonic technology along with some of the top ultrasonic tooth cleaners on the market, available for use at home. We'll also answer the following questions:
- Are ultrasonic tooth cleaners safe?
- How does the technology work?
- What's the best ultrasonic tooth cleaner?
We hope this information helps you find the most efficient and safest way to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and keep your teeth clean and healthy.
If you're short on time, have a look at the following table for our top picks:
Ultrasonic Teeth Cleaners
Powtooth Dental Calculus Remover
Prabensei Electric Teeth Cleaning Set
Pcakic Plaque Remover for Teeth
Table of contents
What is an ultrasonic tooth cleaner?
An ultrasonic dental cleaner is an electric or battery-powered device that cleans plaque and tartar from teeth. It looks a little like a dentist's dental tool used for scraping plaque from teeth. But an ultrasonic cleaner doesn't require a scraping action like traditional dental tools.
Instead, it uses electromagnetic force that causes the tip to vibrate. The resulting ultrasonic vibrations then break apart and remove the plaque and calculus that has built up on your teeth.
Moreover, a small stream of water comes out of the tip and helps blast away additional buildup while washing away the debris.
Studies have shown that ultrasonic technology successfully removes plaque and reduces gum infection, but the study pool is limited.
At the dentist
Dentists now employ this ultrasonic technology in their practices because it's much faster than traditional dental scaling. It takes just 1/3 of the time. and it's much more comfortable for patients. A deep clean or dental scaling doesn't necessarily hurt, but the pressure and force used by the dentist can be uncomfortable.
Additionally, the flow of the water stream and the vibration frequency can be adjusted to relieve any discomfort or sensitivity the patient feels. Dentists may also have special tips designed to clean porcelain crowns and titanium implants.
There are also ultrasonic dental cleaners available for home use. There's a bit of a controversy around whether or not it's safe for patients to use one on their own. The main objection is that removing tartar from teeth requires special training that only dental hygienists have.
But others say that a quality ultrasonic cleaner, when appropriately used, can help you keep up your oral hygiene and health in between dental visits.
To use an ultrasonic cleaner at home, follow the instructions that came with the device. In general, they will more or less include the following steps:
- Fill the reservoir with water (some models don't use water)
- Turn the cleaner on
- Gently and slowly move the tip along your gum line
- Stay bent over the sink to avoid making a mess
Ultrasonic teeth cleaner UK reviews
The first review is from a man in the UK who got his cleaner from Groupon. He bought his while in lockdown and couldn't get in to see the dentist. His model doesn't work with water, just the vibrations.
He concludes that it is ‘rubbish.' He doesn't recommend it and says you are better off using a water flosser and seeing the dental hygienist for a cleaning.
The following ultrasonic tooth cleaner review by John warns against scaling your teeth with an at-home ultrasonic cleaner. He says that the ones you can buy differ from the ones the dentist uses. John says DIY dental scalers will damage your gums and tongue if misused. They can also scratch your enamel, crowns and veneers.
At-home scalers don't use water, so they can heat up and damage your teeth, leading to the tooth dying. They are also not sterile, so you can bring home bacteria and introduce them to your mouth, which can lead to problems.
John's view of at-home ultrasonic tooth cleaners is that they are dangerous and can damage your teeth. It's much better to go to your dental clinic and get a scale and polish from your dentist or hygienist.
What is the best ultrasonic tooth cleaner in the UK?
There aren't many ultrasonic tooth cleaners on the market in the UK, as this technology is relatively new. That being said, check out the following options available on Amazon.
Dental Calculus Remover
This ultrasonic tooth cleaner set comes with an ultrasonic cleaner and a teeth cleaning kit that includes 4 stainless steel replacement heads to clean the teeth, a dental mirror, and a tongue cleaner. The tooth cleaner itself has a built-in LED spotlight so you can see exactly where you're cleaning on your teeth.
Some other features of this ultrasonic tooth cleaner are that it comes with teeth identify technology making it safe for gums and it's also IPX7 waterproof, so you can use it in the shower and safely wash it.
*Please note that we do not recommend scraping your teeth at home. If you do it wrong, you could scrape off your enamel, causing irreversible damage to teeth.
The ultrasonic cleaner features 5 cleaning modes:
- Stains, tartar, and plaque
- Stubborn stains
- Stubborn tartar and plaque
The tip is made using a steel alloy that is rust-proof and damage resistant.
The makers of the Dental Calculus Remover recommend trying this first on the lowest setting, so you get used to the sensation, and then slowly increasing intensity based on your level of comfort.
They also remind users that this isn't meant to replace a visit to the dentist. It's a supplement to help you keep your teeth clean between visits.
The following reviewer found it easy to use and effective:
“Calculus buildup is nearly unavoidable with the way my permanent retainers are set up, but this makes it so easy to remove them, without damaging the teeth. Definitely makes the sound of the dentist drill though when it's against your teeth.”Sarah Aherne – Amazon customer review
Prabensei Dental Cleaner
This model uses ultrasonic vibrations and only vibrates when it comes into contact with the teeth and stops automatically if it touches soft tissue like your gums.
It makes barely any noise, and the gentle vibrations won't hurt your hands.
It comes with three modes — gentle, standard, and powerful, and it is waterproof so that you can use it in the shower.
One happy reviewer says:
Wasn't real sure about this product at first. Cleaned it and charged it then gave it a shot. Went to work with it and was amazed at how well it worked. It was great at cleaning around old fillings. It works just as described. Definitely would recommend.Coleen – Amazon customer review
Wi-Fi Visual Ultrasonic
This cleaner comes with an app that lets you see a live video of your teeth being cleaned so that you can target plaque and tartar more efficiently. It also has built-in storage, easy USB charging, and a handy base where you can store its multiple heads.
There are 3 modes and 4 heads to customise your cleaning experience. Furthermore, this device only vibrates when it comes into contact with hard surfaces. It stops automatically if it senses contact with soft tissue, like your gums.
The following reviewer is feeling mediocre about their experience with this plaque cleaner:
“It doesn't clean my teeth the way that it shows in the ad. The unit only work for about 15 minutes on a full charge. Plus it only works when in contact with a tooth, but it doesn't remove the tartar, maybe over time I will change my mind. I was expecting to see quick results.”Amazon customer review
Ultrasonic teeth cleaners are not widely available for at-home use, but there are some products you can purchase online. There is plenty of debate as to whether it's safe for people to use these devices at home.
Many — especially dental professionals — say that only trained dental hygienists should remove tartar from your teeth with dental tools.
If you decide to use an ultrasonic cleaner at home, choose one with plenty of positive reviews from real customers. It's also a good idea to consult your dentist beforehand and ask them if this is something that would benefit you.
Most importantly, remember that these aren't meant to replace professional dental cleanings, and the best thing you can do for your dental health is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once per day, and visit your dentist regularly.
Can ultrasonic cleaning damage teeth?
Ultrasonic cleaning can damage teeth if the device isn't used correctly. If you get ultrasonic cleaning done at the dentist, you have nothing to worry about, but take care if using a cleaner at home.
Do dentists recommend ultrasonic cleaners?
Dentists typically only recommend ultrasonic cleaners for use in-office with a trained dental hygenist. Your dentist may recommend using one at home, in between cleanings.
Ask your dentist before you buy an ultrasonic cleaner — they may instead recommend that you increase your visits for professional cleaning. Or they may give you tips for better oral hygiene at home.
Does ultrasonic teeth cleaning hurt?
This method for cleaning teeth is supposed to be gentler than traditional manual scrapers. Patients should feel little to no discomfort, and the time it takes to clean teeth is significantly reduced.
How does ultrasonic dental cleaning work?
Ultrasonic tooth cleaners use gentle vibrating technology to break down plaque and tartar buildup on teeth. They typically work with a small stream of water that removes additional plaque and debris.
NIH. Dental Plaque Removal by Ultrasonic Toothbrushes. Consulted 1st August 2022.