by Karen Kaiser, RDH
Upkeep on home gutters and downspouts will help avoid leaky situations when it rains. Downpours from April showers must be able to run off the roof unobstructed; otherwise, trapped water may cause possible damage to walls and roof. Precautionary measures will help avoid repairs caused by plugged debris, causing rain runover. Clean twigs, nutshells, and caked dirt by hand or scoop and use a garden hose to rinse and check for backups. One solution may be to cover the gutter with a wire barrier or plastic guard to allow rain to run off without obstruction.
Similarly, when managing moist conditions in dentistry, consider products that work while wet. Hygiene curettes and scalers have blood and debris on them from providing treatment. When instruments are soiled, a solution is to place the dirty instruments in an ultrasonic unit filled with noncorrosive cleaner.
Ultrasonic tanks use sound wave frequency made by transducers to vibrate and wave to shake debris free. Enzymatic solutions for loosening bioburden come in convenient, premeasured bottles and pumps, tablets, foams, and powder granules. Many solutions are multipurpose and act as a presoak, a disinfectant, and an evacuation cleaner. Hu-Friedy has the Enzymax PAX, which is a dissolvable powder package (similar in concept to the variety used in dishwashers), which is just dropped into a gallon of water to activate.
Saliva keeps things slippery in the mouth. Practicing “wet fingered” dentistry is not at all safe, so gloves are a solution. With a broad range of gloves to choose from, the challenge remains selecting an exam glove that fits both personal protection and preference. Options may include latex, nitrile nonlatex gloves, or vinyl available in powder and nonpowder types. Fitted gloves are anatomical with the thumb in a natural position, which works for extended treatment times, but ambidextrous gloves also work well for many clinicians. Smart Practice has QualiTouch fitted gloves that offer a premium fit while being lightly powdered. Textured fingers on procedure gloves add extra grab and are a solution for safely maneuvering instruments with saliva-soaked fingers.
Plaque and debris are especially difficult to remove from orthodontic brackets and wires where plaque takes cover. A wet solution is to flush the debris out of hiding using an ultra orthodontic tip placed on the Waterpik oral irrigator. Water flows through the tip that has bristles and a shape that works well for those orthodontic crevices. To keep teeth surfaces strong, regularly flow fluoride rinses. Neutral sodium fluoride rinses are a basic solution for remineralizing and an easy addition for patients to use and purchase over the counter. The Colgate Company offers Fluorigard, a freshening anticavity rinse for daily use. ACT fluoride rinse (Chattem, Inc.) has a new Restoring Mouthwash that strengthens tooth and root surfaces. It is delivered in an easy-use dose meter, which provides fluoride in the right amount at every use. ACT freshens breath and is available in flavors appealing to adults. For the younger folks over age 6, ACT Bubblegum Blowout flavor is a winner. Consider dispensing sample-size bottles to your patients to help them get started on your fluoride recommendations.
Another smart fluoride solution for kids is by Johnson and Johnson and is available in a mint or berry shield. Smart Rinse helps prevent cavities all while dyeing harmful bacteria during the swishing. When the child expectorates in the sink, the particles are tinted and easy to see when they go down the drain. Listerine Tooth Defense is for daily fluoride use for patients 12 years and older.
When facing wet situations, a simple solution may be at your fingertips. Improve home care without runoff by selecting products that flush bacteria and remineralize tooth surfaces.
The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned.