RDH: Survey examines usage of air polishing units

Fifty-nine percent of dental hygienists indicate they use air abrasion polishing units at least once a week, according to a survey conducted by PennWell Corp., the publisher of RDH eVillage.

Fifty-nine percent of dental hygienists indicate they use air abrasion polishing units at least once a week, according to a survey conducted by PennWell Corp., the publisher of RDH eVillage.

The survey of 361 U.S. dental hygienists explored the usage of air polishing units in dental offices, including reasons why they do not.

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Sixty-seven percent of the dental hygienists said air polishing units are available in the dental offices where they are employed. Among the hygienists with access to a unit, 23% said they do not use it. The remainder said they employ the technology as follows:

  • 34% said the air polishing unit was used daily
  • 14% said the unit was used three to four times a week
  • 29% said the unit was used one to two times a week

The survey explored reasons why air polishing units were not available or not being used. Some of the reasons given were:

  • Too expensive. Used one in school
  • Doctor doesn't want it.
  • Dentist will not buy, does not believe in them. Too expensive. Cheap dentist
  • Was concerned about powder damaging computer equipment.
  • Tried it. The office water system is weird, and it either gives only water or power. I loved it in other offices
  • More expense for the dentist. I worked with a dentist temporarily awhile back and she wished the office we worked at would purchase one. She was a former RDH and loved them.
  • I work in a city hospital that doesn't have high tech equipment.
  • Office is not purchasing any new equipment at this time.
  • Not needed in my work
  • Pedo office. It's too invasive.
  • In the second office I work, dentist convinced air polishing is too aggressive
  • Limited usefulness; messy
  • I would have to purchase the unit myself. Other priorities have come first. I have used a prophy jet in the past and absolutely loved it.
  • Have not read enough science to support the use of it or for my employers to purchase.
  • Had one and only used it a couple of times in 15 years. When the CaviJet quit working we replaced it with a ultrasonic scaler only
  • We got rid of ours. Patients didn't like it
  • Too bulky and too many parts
  • Original units were a bit messy, especially for the patients. Just recently, I learned that may not be an issue now.
  • An old practice that doesn't change much!
  • No interest from the hygienists
  • I'm not sure why there isn't one. I did not like the one we used at dental hygiene school.
  • I once had the air polishing at one of my pros and I was not a fan of it, my teeth did not feel as clean when I left the office.
  • Limited number of patients we would use it on and limited budget
  • Do I need it???
  • I have read about sensitivity of root surfaces, messy operatories, and damaged tissues. I have discussed this with periodontists in the area, and they agree with this.
  • Have never used one. Other hygienists in office always complained it made a mess
  • We don't use it. We could use it on some select patients, but we would rather have other equipment instead
  • My boss never bought one. There was no unit when I started. She doesn't keep up with hygiene equipment.
  • Don't like the mess with the aerosol
  • Maintenance between patients is time consuming and there are a lot of restrictions for the air polisher.
  • Was clogging often and patients did not like taste
  • Hate the messiness of using this. My ultrasonic does the job
  • I had one. Was a huge mess and I hated knowing that the powder was hanging in the air I breathe.
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