Polish from a new angle

May 1, 2007
Taking candid snapshots from several different angles adds visual interest to humdrum photos.

by Karen Kaiser

Taking candid snapshots from several different angles adds visual interest to humdrum photos. When the subject is selected, the photographer becomes ready to capture the moment and looks at unique angles to add a discerning perspective to the subject. By selecting different angles, the photographer can best represent his or her subject. In the same way, hygienists have the choice of different disposable prophylaxis angles for tough situations and different angles in the mouth.

In general, disposable prophy angles, complete with the cups, are constructed with basic components. Some are well suited for certain oral situations.

Extrinsic stain and fixed orthodontic hardware are always a challenge to maneuver prophy cups over. Some cups may catch on orthodontic brackets and tear, leaving cup debris that the suction must retrieve and capture. Others stall, lock up, or freeze with extended use, forcing the clinician to replace the angle during treatment, which is costly and time consuming.

Different options for polishing

Many cups now offer disposable angles with different options. One option is assembling the angle with latex-free materials for patients who are sensitive to latex products.

For orthodontic brackets and bands, the Waterpik Wizard angle performs well.

This cup-and-brush combo does double duty. The inner brush tuft inside the disposable cup works on the brackets, and the outer portion of the cup rotates on the brackets’ rim. With the benefit of the cup and brush, each bracket becomes effortlessly plaque free. Because the spiral cup is soft and gentle, it may be used during regular polishing procedures, as well as during the more challenging stain removal or plaque-laden procedures. The Wizard angle is very resilient and good to use with bonded lingual retainers and rigid wires.

A new angle with twofold features is the Total Access disposable prophy angle by Ho Dental. This angle features a well thought-out design that can reach torsoclusion and lingual verted teeth, which can be tricky to contact effectively. The angle accomplishes this feat because the cup performs at a 100-degree angle, and most straight disposable angle cups are designed at a 90-degree angle. The clinician now has favorable access to those maloccluded smiles. Not only are the cup and gearless angle designed so that misalignment may be easily worked on, the cup can also be removed to expose a compact inner tip which is pointed for improved embrasure usage. The inner point has a slight give and is not overly rigid. The angle is the idea of Dr. Phillip Ho of Las Vegas, Nev.

Ergonomic benefits

Another angle with design in mind is the Preventech esa (extended straight attachment) angle. Clinicians appreciate the ergonomically balanced, extended design as the disposable angle replaces the standard straight nose cone on a handpiece. The weight is half of normal, making the esa angle exceptionally light and quiet. With the traditional needle nose cone attachment replaced, cleaning, sterilizing, and lubricating the attachment is not a factor. This saves on infection control costs, not to mention the time it takes to perform all the necessary maintenance duties.

The esa angle easily connects to several low-speed air units such as the Titan, Midwest Shorty, Rhino, and Star motors. Also, the handpiece offered by Preventech is an ideal system for tandem use with the esa angle.

The esa angle is available in low profile soft and firm type cups as well as a brush design that is great for tenacious stain. The lightweight angle is constructed with prominent non-slip grooves that aid the grip when saliva-moistened gloves grasp the angle. Even though the angle is extended, it causes minimal vibration and allows the esa to function smoothly.

Another angle, the Twist, offers a gentle reciprocating action that is friction-free. The action works on a steady oscillating pressure where the cup does not leave the tooth surface during use, and can run without any buildup of frictional heat to the tooth surface. Because it does not perform the traditional spin motion of other angles, the Twist generates no centrifugal force, so bloody debris and prophy paste slurry is reduced. This makes the polishing process less messy. After the angle cup is filled with prophy paste the clinician can polish without repeatedly filling the cup with paste because the prophy paste doesn’t whirl away. As a result, the clinician can work faster.

In the same way the trained photographer chooses angles to better position the subject he is photographing, the skilled hygienist selects unique disposable angles for prophylaxis. Unsightly stains and plaque-laden orthodontic brackets are less challenging to treat when viewed from new angles. Misaligned teeth, orthodontic wires, and veneer margins are not a major challenge to polish when viewed from a different angle. RDH

The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned. Visit www.professional.waterpik.com, [email protected], www.preventech.com and www.twist2it.com to see disposables from a new angle.

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis’ Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].