If you’re a dental professional, it will serve you well to read this Hygiene Town article that recently caught our eye.
The article highlights the many positive features of air polishing and the fact that, despite scientific evidence demonstrating its value, it has yet to become widely accepted among many registered dental hygienists.
Air polishing has proven to be successful with plaque and stain removal. In fact, it’s shown to be three times faster than rubber cup polishing! So, why aren’t more of us using it?
The truth is that air polishing, for whatever reason, has been riddled with naysaying...and these myths are part of the reason it hasn’t seen widespread use.
Let’s look at the facts about air polishing!
Myth #1: Air Polishing is Too Messy
This myth is based on what used to be the truth. In generations past, air polishers sprayed all over the place. However, in recent years, things have changed.
Older air polishing devices could only be used at full power. They also clogged too quickly, and many practitioners didn’t have the knowledge and experience to shield their patients from the abundance of overspray.
Nowadays, air polishers offer far more control and precision.
Myth #2: Patients Dislike the Taste
Similar to the above myth, the taste factor of air polishers did use to be a legitimate gripe of patients and hygienists alike.
Initially, the powder being used was a salty sodium bicarbonate that revolted both children and adults.
Fortunately, most models now include a non-sodium option.
There’s also a substance known as Sylc therapeutic prophy powder being utilized in air polishing systems. It’s a calcium sodium phosphosilicate or bioactive glass.
Although the Sylc does possess 450 mg sodium, this is far milder than the 2,000 to 3,000 mg found in a sodium bicarbonate—a staple of the old method.
Myth #3: It’s Less Effective at Cleaning Teeth
Marilynn Rothen, MS, RDH, states that air polishing is superior to rubber cup polishing when cleaning the tooth surface before etching for sealant placement.
Further studies, however, indicate similar results between cleaning methods. Regardless, air polishing has never been proven to be less effective at cleaning teeth when compared to other treatments!
Myth #4: Air Polishing Makes Teeth Overly Sensitive
This myth, unlike a few of the other ones, isn’t rooted in facts at all. The reality is that this myth couldn’t be any further from the truth!
Air polishing will offer comfort to your patients with even the most sensitive teeth. It’s an extremely gentle method that necessitates no heat or pressure being placed on tooth surfaces.
Furthermore, due to the acclaimed gentleness of air polishing, it’s an ideal technique to use when cleaning around delicate implants.
Myth #5: The Aerosol Spreads Bacteria
Dental professionals perform an array of procedures, including air polishing, that requires hand tools that produce an influx of particles and splattering. They can contain microorganisms (aerosols) from the oral cavity of the patients, which are believed to possess bacteria and fungi. It’s feared that this can lead to cross-infection for dentists and dental hygienists.
Yes, you do have to adhere to prevention methods to keep safe—but it’s no different from any other treatment. Furthermore, studies have proven that aerosol exposure is not a significant occupational hazard.
Myth #6: Air Polishing Equipment is Too Expensive
Unfortunately, many dental professionals do consider air-polishing equipment to be too expensive.
But this assumption doesn’t consider the return on your investment.
Even if you’re paying for a more expensive polisher, your patients will appreciate the results and keep coming back to you as their trusted dentist or dental hygienist.
After debunking these myths, we hope that you’re more open to air polishing. It’s an undoubtedly affordable, safe, and effective teeth-cleaning method that will help your patients achieve optimal oral health!