Exploring products in 2017: Options could help dental hygienists practice easier

Jan. 24, 2017
Jamie Collins, RDH, offer a review of products that could be of interest to dental hygienists as they attend 2017 dental conferences.

By Jamie Collins, RDH, CDA

2017 begins some fun and new products out on the market. Some products have been out for a while that I have recently tried, and some are new or coming soon. All of the products are noteworthy, and I challenge you to try something new this winter. As a practicing hygienist, I enjoy trying new items when I come across them, observing how it can change or influence the way I practice daily.

While attending the ADHA annual session in 2016, I discovered a vendor booth for two Swiss-based companies. Paro Inc. is relatively new to the American market; however, they have been serving many countries throughout the world since 1969.

Interdental brushes

The dental practice where I work places implants on a frequent basis. Many patients don’t brush the implant site after placement or placement of the healing abutment due to discomfort. Paro made a surgical brush that is extremely soft and gentle. In addition, all of their toothbrushes have a changeable end tuft brush.

One of the most intriguing products Paro has to offer is the 3Star interdental brush that that is made from a polyurethane wire that is in a triangular shape that mimics the interdental space—triangular! In my mind, it conforms and cleans the space more effectively than a round wire. Or, for those patients who prefer toothpicks look at the Paro Brush-Stick. It is a plastic pick with a flocked coating and is created without any adhesive to reduce allergy risk.

Paro focuses on a variety of home care products and I have tried many of them personally and been very pleased.

Hand instruments

Deppeler is the other Swiss-based company, and it manufactures dental instruments in an environmentally friendly facility. The instruments are all made from a solid piece of nickel-free steel. The handles are uniquely shaped, well balanced, and, most importantly, the instruments work well with a great tactile sensation while scaling. I now have a few sets that I use, and they hold a good edge before needing sharpening.

The implant instruments are some of the best I have used to date when it comes to adaption and angulation. Deppeler has also created two sharpening systems that are easy to use and effective, the EasySharp or EasySharp Coach.

Perio charting

For a few years, I have used the Florida Probe Voiceworks system for periodontal charting. I have found it to be a great tool in increasing patient acceptance when recommending periodontal therapy. It has almost always saved me time on every patient when charting. Voiceworks is completely hands-free while in use, preventing cross-contamination with the keyboard (entering exam numbers).

Florida Probe has made some changes and has come out with a new and sleek headset with a one-cup ear design. The headset easily slips into a charging base. I have found that, if I drop it into the base at the end of the day, the charge lasts the entire next day without needing recharging.

The voice commands are easy to use, and I appreciate that I can still talk with my patient while in the middle of charting, if I need to, without messing up the chart progress. The computer software has also had many new and exciting changes that can allow for easy sharing of periodontal charting between offices such as a general practice and the periodontist, with some great patient education materials included. The software allows for charting preferences that are easily tailored to meet the clinicians’ desired notations.

I have used loupes and illumination for many years, and I can still say it is one of the best investments I have made in my career. Occasionally, I will catch the cord on my personal light on a doorknob while trying to slip by a co-worker in the office. So naturally the new and cordless lights on the market are intriguing to me. I have not yet had the privilege to try one yet but they are now lighter than ever before, and I will be on the lookout for one at the next dental conference I attend. Personal Illumination changes the way I see the deep, dark oral cavity and thus I feel I am able to provide better treatment and identify areas of concern.

Cordless handpieces

One of my favorite discoveries in the past few months are the new cordless hygiene handpieces. I have had the ability to use both the Nupro Freedom and the iStar Cordless hygiene handpieces. The Nupro handpiece increases in speed, depending on the pressure applied to the prophy angle, which is a nice feature to have on the go.

The iStar handpiece allows for the hygienist to use any disposable prophy angle, and is a little smaller than the Nupro. Being a left-handed hygienist, I have learned to adapt over the years to the right-handed dental world. The cordless handpieces are wonderful because they allow me ease of use without trying to manipulate cords around a patient while polishing. The reduction of cord drag and the difference I notice in hand fatigue after the end of a long day is notable.

Recently, the handpiece proved its worth when I had a wheelchair-bound patient who could not be transferred to the dental chair. The cordless handpiece allowed ease of use while polishing, I would not otherwise had been able to make a handpiece cord reach the patients wheelchair. I could see either of these products being a valued tool in any practice.

As the 2017 dental conferences start, I look forward to discovering and trying products that will elevate the way I practice clinically, as well as provide new home-care tools for patients who are not able or willing to use conventional products. It’s all about provide care one smile at a time.

Jamie Collins, RDH, CDA, resides in Idaho with her husband, Cory, and their four children. She currently works as a full-time hygienist as well as an educator at the College of Western Idaho. In addition, she acts as a content expert and contributor in multiple upcoming textbooks. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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