Early caries diagnosis, air polishing technology

Jan. 1, 2011
If you're reading this, you are a "haute hygienist." You are a highly skilled and informed clinician, paying close attention to detail ...

by Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH, RDHMP
[email protected]

If you're reading this, you are a "haute hygienist." You are a highly skilled and informed clinician, paying close attention to detail while delivering the highest possible quality of care to each of the patients entrusted to you. This column is dedicated to products and technologies, as well as services and strategies designed to support you in your delivery of exceptional care. Here are my haute tips for this month.

Early detection of decay is certainly a primary function of every registered dental hygienist. The CarieScan Pro, available only through Patterson Dental, measures the presence of tooth decay early and accurately. According to 3D Diagnostics Imaging Ltd, the parent company, it detects "hidden" decay with >90% accuracy, providing dental practitioners the opportunity to arrest and even reverse decay with remineralization strategies. The CarieScan Pro detects and monitors caries by the application and analysis of AC impedance spectroscopy (ACIST). The battery-operated system uses an extremely low electrical current, undetectable by the patient.

CarieScan Pro consists of a lightweight handpiece and a disposable sensor, which is held against the tooth for approximately four seconds. The results are displayed on the LCD screen and the color LED display, making it easy to monitor progression of decay as well as the effect of treatments designed to slow or arrest decay. Visit www.cariescan.com.

Many of you have already been introduced to the technology of subgingival air polishing by Electro Medical Systems (EMS). This technology is available in two delivery systems. If you have not yet had a hands-on opportunity with this technology, ask your EMS distributor for a demo and be sure to experience both the Air-Flow handy Perio, which is portable, and the Air-Flow Master, which combines sub- and supragingival air polishing in a single tabletop unit.

Colleagues have told me they love the subgingival air polishing technology and appreciate the convenience of the handy Perio during a prophy. The long, narrow handpiece on the tabletop unit allows for greater visibility and rotation in order to access difficult areas, especially for periodontal maintenance patients.

This is incredible technology; it removes biofilm from not only the root surface but also from the epithelial pocket wall. Check it out at www.ems-company.com and watch the application videos to see the subgingival air polishing in action.

As your New Year begins, consider joining the newly established American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH). AAOSH is a network of dedicated health-care leaders working to change professional and public behaviors by addressing the importance of oral health as it relates to whole body health.

"Putting People First" is the call to arms of the AAOSH. The goal is to bridge the gaps among health-care professionals through unprecedented cooperation across all disciplines and professions, based on sound research principles. The members of AAOSH are passionate about elevating the quality of health-care services and are working to communicate the mouth-body health link, so that millions of people worldwide can live longer, healthier, happier lives.

To facilitate that outcome, AAOSH supports a forum for rapid and accurate exchange of knowledge about the mouth-body connection. Become a member of this dynamic organization promoting the importance of oral systemic health by visiting aaosh.com.

Renewing your ADHA membership (or joining for the first time) is also a great way to launch the New Year! Visit adha.org and review the benefits for yourself and renew your membership.

2011 promises to be a year full of advancements in the standard of care, enabling us to provide an even more comprehensive approach to oral-systemic wellness. Please keep your eye on this monthly column for up-to-date information and be sure to e-mail me with your feedback and suggestions for topics you would like to see featured in future issues.

Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH, RDHMP, graduated from Loma Linda University in 1981. Kim is the co-founder of PerioFrogz.com and a partner with the JP Institute as well as a national speaker, author, and hands-on trainer.

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