Airflowing and polishing powders

Since its introduction as a form of periodontal therapy in the 1970s, air polishing technology and its associated powders have made rapid advancements in their application. Designed for the removal of stains from teeth and of plaque deposits, air polishing could originally only be used on supragingival areas. Owing to the development of low-abrasion polishing powders by innovative companies like the Switzerland-based EMS (Electro Medical Systems), this form of therapy can now be used subgingivally without fear of pain or damage to soft or hard tissue.

Air polishing powders have traditionally been based on either sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate. Though these powders are effective in removing supragingival stains and biofilm, they have been shown to cause damage to the gingivae. Furthermore, in a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, Bühler et al. concluded that the use of sodium bicarbonate powder or instrumentation with curettes might cause considerable damage to the root surface during periodontal therapy.

Air polishing using glycine powder, however, was demonstrated to be safe for use on root surfaces and gingivae and much more versatile in its application. Another study in the same journal by Bühler et al. confirmed that air polishing with glycine- or erythritol-based powders was perceived by patients to cause less discomfort than periodontal therapy performed with handheld or ultrasonic devices or instrumentation with curettes.

Given that the fear of pain is a primary influence on a patient’s decisions regarding periodontal therapy, its reduction is crucial for increasing patient acceptance of treatment and subsequent recall.


Evidence-based protocol

Guided biofilm therapy (GBT) is EMS's innovation in the field of dental prophylaxis, aimed at the elimination of subgingival and supragingival biofilm and the selective removal of mineralised deposits. A patient-focused approach, GBT utilises the company’s well-known AIR-FLOW, PERIO-FLOW and PIEZON technology to deliver a dental treatment that is simple to perform and more efficient and comfortable than ever before.

GBT’s evidence-based approach is apparent in the eight steps of the protocol: diagnosis; disclosing; motivation; removal of biofilm, stains and young calculus with AIR-FLOW; removal of biofilm from deep pockets with PERIO-FLOW; removal of remaining calculus with PIEZON; control and recall. Suitable for preventing caries, treating periodontitis and gingivitis, and removing biofilm prior to many routine dental procedures, GBT is a system designed to preserve the natural dentition and restorations for as long as possible by making the patient an active part of the treatment process.

Another key product that sets EMS apart is its revolutionary AIR-FLOW powder PLUS. The powder’s small particle size—14 μ, compared with 25–35 μ for conventional periodontal powders—ensures that it is an ideal material for the efficient and abrasion-free removal of biofilm, leaving the surface of the tooth clean and unchanged. Designed for use on all types of tissue, as well as restorations and orthodontic appliances, AIR-FLOW powder PLUS sets the standard for erythritol-based powders and is an outstanding complement to the glycine-based AIR-FLOW powder PERIO.

Through an emphasis on high-quality products and services, EMS ensures that dental patients receive the exceptional treatment that they deserve. “GBT is the clinician’s new and most desired professional care solution,” according to General Manager Paolo Zanetti. “By partnering with Philips, we are also recommending the world’s best products for home care, increasing patients’ motivation and long-term oral health. Dental professionals interested in learning more about GBT are invited to attend one of our Swiss Dental Academy seminars in Europe.”