Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Dentistry



Committee Chair

Christina DeBiase

Committee Co-Chair

Cathryn Frere

Committee Member

Amy Funk


The purpose of this study is to determine the existence and extent of ultrasonic scaling instrumentation instruction in dental hygiene programs nationally. Currently, there is no research available defining a consensus of instruction for ultrasonic instrumentation in dental hygiene programs. An email survey was sent to all directors of dental hygiene programs in the United States (n=323). The response rate was 45%. No significant differences in methods or extent of instruction were found between associate and baccalaureate degree granting programs. Eighty-nine percent of programs introduce hand scaling prior to ultrasonic scaling instrumentation instruction. Students in 96% of the programs are required to administer a pre-procedural mouth rinse reducing the amount of bacteria that would potentially be released in the aerosol produced. A variety of resources and strategies are employed for teaching ultrasonic instrumentation and competency is measured in several ways. The availability of magnetostrictive ultrasonic scalers is much greater than that of piezoelectric ultrasonic scalers in the student clinics. Programs use a variety of inserts and tips and some programs require students to purchase magnetostrictive ultrasonic units. The results of this study show that ultrasonic instrumentation is an integral component of the clinical curriculum and the majority of the dental hygiene programs prescribe to similar teaching methods, use the same textbooks, teach the same adaption techniques and strokes and use typodonts, student partners and onsite patients.