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Fast, Highly Effective Pre-sterilization of Your Dental & Medical Instruments


The power and thoroughness of ultrasonic energy is put to wide use in dental offices and clinics as a fast   and efficient method to remove strongly adhering organic contaminants from dental instruments as well as removing cement, alginate, plaster and wax from tools and molds used in measuring, preparing and cleaning dentures.

Ultrasonic Cleaner Applications in Dental Clinics

Practical applications for ultrasonic cleaners exemplified by the Elma family available from Tovatech, along with accessories and cleaning solutions formulated for the dental profession, include:

  • removing strongly adhering contaminants such as blood and tissue from drills, picks and other instruments prior to disinfecting or sterilizing
  • removing cement, plastic, alginate and wax from rim lock and perforated impression trays
  • assuring all traces of alginate or other compounds are completely removed from mixing bowls
  • periodic and thorough cleaning patients' dentures during visits to the dental clinic

How Ultrasonic Cleaners do their Job in Dental Clinics

Ultrasonic cleaners operate by producing millions of microscopic vacuum bubbles in biodegradable cleaning solution specially formulated for specific cleaning tasks. The bubbles are created by ultrasonic vibration of devices called transducers typically bonded to the bottom of a stainless steel cleaning tank.

These transducers are powered by a generator designed to deliver specific ultrasonic frequencies, which are defined as sound above the human range of hearing - or greater than 20,000 cycles per second (20 kHz).

The vibration causes the tank bottom to operate as a membrane, thus creating the bubbles.

When the bubbles contact dental instruments immersed in the cleaning solution they implode violently and quickly blast loose and carrying away contaminants. Because the process is so fast it does not damage dentures and instruments immersed in the cleaning solution.

Advantages of Ultrasonic Cleaning in Dental Clinics

Many dental instruments are characterized by complex shapes and sharp edges. Drills have crevices that can trap contaminants. Manually cleaning dental instruments and tools used in creating impressions can be time consuming, can cause injury and may not be 100% effective. Missed contaminants may not be removed by subsequent sterilization or disinfecting, and in fact due to heat may more strongly adhere to the instruments.

In an ultrasonic cleaner microscopic bubbles penetrate even the most complex shapes difficult if not impossible to reach by manual methods.  The process is a fast, safe and highly effective means to dislodge blood, saliva, dirt and other debris without damaging your precision dental instruments and molds. 

What to Look For in an Ultrasonic Cleaner for Dental Clinics

When considering an ultrasonic cleaner for your dental practice the first consideration is a unit with the correct cleaning tank capacity and tank dimensions including length, width and depth. Capacities range from less than a gallon to multi-gallon units.

Because cleaning is accomplished in baskets (or beakers as the case may be) basket size, which is smaller than tank size, must be taken into consideration.

Instruments, impression trays and other items to be cleaned should be positioned in baskets in such a way that they are not in contact with each other.

Once you have determined the size of the unit for your dental practice other features to consider include:

  • A timer that lets you set the duration of the cycle, then turn it off. This frees you up to do other tasks.
  • A thermostat you can set to the temperature recommended by the cleaning solution manufacturer. Some units will start the ultrasonic cleaning process when the set temperature is reached.
  • A degas function to remove trapped air from fresh cleaning solutions. This can save time especially in large-capacity tanks.
  • A sweep function that delivers a slight fluctuation in ultrasonic frequency. This assures even distribution of cleaning energy throughout the bath.
  • A pulse mode, manually activated, to deliver pulses of higher ultrasonic energy useful in removing strongly-adhering contaminants. Pulse can also be used to degas fresh solutions.
  • Accessories that contribute to the efficiency and utility of your ultrasonic cleaning unit. Examples include:
    • cassette and instrument trays
    • beakers, beaker holders and lids for small prosthesis and other small items
    • fine mesh baskets

Three Ultrasonic Cleaner Candidates for Dental Clinics

Tovatech offers three models of 37kHz ultrasonic cleaners ideal for dental clinics, all manufactured in Germany by Elma Ultrasonic, a leader in the technology since 1947. They carry a 2-year warranty and are backed by local technical and repair service in the U.S.

Here is a brief introduction:

Elmasonic E Plus Series for Routine Cleaning and Mixing

  • 9 tank sizes from .25 to 7.5 gallons
  • timer and thermostat
  • User activated pulse mode for degassing and removing strongly adhering contaminants

Elmasonic S Series with Multiple Ultrasonic Modes

  • 14 tank sizes from .25 to 24 gallons
  • LED display shows set and actual time and temperature
  • User-activated degas mode to quickly degas fresh solutions
  • User-activated pulse mode to remove strongly adhering contaminants

Includes the Newly Introduced .75 gallon Elmasonic Denta Pro. It's based on the Elmasonic S 30H ultrasonic cleaner and includes:

  • Design modifications specifically for dental clinics
  • Manual mode for continuous operation without heating or at 50⁰ or 70⁰C
  • 8 pre-defined custom settings: dentures, instruments, drills, molds, plaster removal, cement removal, enzymatic cleaning, acid basic cleaning
  • Simply select tasks and initiate operations; the unit takes over to accomplish the job

Cleaning Solution Formulations for the Dental Clinic   

Today's biodegradable ultrasonic cleaning solution formulations are a far cry from the environmentally unfriendly perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene formulations of the past. Other advances include the development of formulations specifically suited for the cleaning task.

The dental profession benefits from these developments. Examples available from Tovatech include:

  • MedClean C7, a mildly alkaline enzymatic liquid detergent for medical, dental and surgical instruments. Diluted to 1 to 3% with water it removes blood, tissue, and ointments in an ultrasonic bath.
  • elma clean 25, a ready-to-use solution for removing alginate and dental plaster from stainless steel, metals, plastics, glass and ceramics.
  • elma clean 35, an economical prosthesis cleaner by activated oxygen and mild cleaning detergents to remove organic particles, bacteria and food residues in 3 minutes at room temperature. Dilutes to 2% by volume.

Cleaning solutions and concentrates are shipped with full operating instructions.

CDC/WHO Recommended

Ultrasonic cleaning is a recommended CDC/WHO protocol prior to disinfection or sterilization.  It involves the removal of organic and inorganic debris from the instrument or device.  If debris is not removed it will interfere with the disinfection or sterilization process. 

Need More Info?

This introduction to tips on using ultrasonic technology for cleaning instruments and prosthesis in dental clinics is just that: an introduction. It touches on but does not provide comprehensive information on the wide variety of ultrasonic cleaners and systems available for the dental profession. Browse our website then contact our dental and medical ultrasonic cleaning professionals for more focused discussions on your particular requirements.      

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