Clinical tip: you need an air-polishing device (air slurry polisher) for more than you think!

Sept. 23, 2011
Sure, an air polisher can remove stains from teeth without cutting enamel. But there are three lesser-known uses for air polishers that Dr. Gordon Christensen says you and your team need to know about.

By Gordon J. Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD

All dentists and hygienists find that removal of stains from tooth enamel is an ever-present challenge. The most common stains are produced by coffee, tea, tobacco, and pigmented foods. These stains are almost impossible to remove from grooves in teeth. An air polisher (air slurry polisher) accomplishes that task extremely easily without cutting enamel. One of the most popular devices is the Cavitron Jet from Dentsply.

What about other lesser-known uses for air polishers?

  • Many practices use the DIAGNOdent. False readings are often recorded if stains are left on the teeth. Air polishing improves the reliability of this device.
  • International research shows that 50% of sealants have “fallen off” by five years. Plaque is not being removed from grooves in teeth. Air polishers will remove the plaque, and staff members can legally use it. Sealants will stay on the subsequently etched enamel.
  • Initial occlusal carious lesions are nearly impossible to detect. Blast the occlusal of the tooth with an air polisher. If stain remains, the presence of caries is almost assured.

Our latest DVD (V5143 Sealants and Preventive Resin Restorations — When and How) supports use of an air polisher before placing sealants. Your staff will improve their sealant technique after watching this video.

Gordon J. Christensen Guide for Preferred Clients Mar./Apr. 2011; Vol. 16 Issue 2

Click here to read more clinical tips and current research from Dr. Gordon Christensen.

Author bio
Dr. Gordon Christensen is a practicing prosthodontist in Provo, Utah, and a diplomate for the American Board of Prosthodontics. He is the founder and director of Practical Clinical Courses, an international continuing education organization initiated in 1981 for dental professionals. Dr. Christensen is a cofounder (with his wife, Rella) and senior consultant of CLINICIANS REPORT (formerly Clinical Research Associates), which has conducted research in all areas of dentistry since 1976. Dr. Christensen is an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.