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Did an Ultra Sonic Scaler Fracture My Porcelain Veneer?

Question submitted by: Benny

I had a cleaning with a magnetostrictive ultrasonic cleaner.¬† Within days of that cleaning one of my porcelain veneers has fractured. Could the ultrasonic cleaner have done this? I’ve been very careful about taking care of them so this does not make sense.


Dear Benny,

An image of a porcelain veneer Porcelain Ve

This is a great question and I understand your concern for your porcelain veneers. Basically, there are two types of ultrasonic scalers:

  1.  Piezoelectric
  2. Magnetostrictive

The magnetostrictive one is sometimes called Cavitron, because that is the name of the machine. While gentler, these are more dependent on the technique of the person using it. A hygienist skilled in using this will have no problem. However, if they’re still developing the skills needed then you have more potential for damage. Poor technique can lead to chipping of the porcelain veneer.

You had your fracture. In order for that to happen, the hygienist would have had to put the tip of the scaler on the tooth. This should never be done. If this is what happened to you, then they should pay to replace the damaged porcelain veneer. You should also find a different dental office to do your work. If the hygienist is not in control of the scaler at all times it can cause serious damage.

There are some things your dental hygienist needs to be aware of to protect your porcelain veneers. I’m giving you this list so that you can be armed with the knowledge you need as you search for another dentist.

  • Obviously, based on what we’ve discussed, they should be very careful with any ultrasonic scaler.
  • They should also be careful with a heavy duty scaler on the margins. If they’re not, they can chip the veneers.
  • For your polishing paste, they should use aluminum oxide pastes. One example of that, which does a great job, is Cosmedent’s Enamelize.
  • If you are getting a fluoride treatment, NEVER let them use an acidulated fluoride. It contains hydrofluoric acid, which will etch your glazed surface.
  • Another thing that should never use is a power prophy jet, which can completely remove the protective glaze on your veneers.

I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Tucson Dentist Dr. Howard Steinberg.