Innovative, hands-free dental suction solution
Melissa A. Obrotka, RDH
I have been in dentistry for more than 20 years. I started my journey in dental assisting while attending dental hygiene school. Currently, I work as an implant care practitioner. I am also a clinical adjunct professor and enjoy spending time with dental hygiene students in the clinical environment. I believe that all dental hygienists have a professional responsibility to constantly educate themselves so they can continually instruct their patients.
I practice biofilm decontamination with aqueous powder streaming (APS), which is also known as air polishing. Although this approach to dental hygiene practice offers myriad advantages, clinicians and patients often complain about the overspray that typically occurs during the procedure and the production of aerosols associated with this treatment. Holding the high-volume evacuator (HVE) while visualizing the treatment area and keeping the patient comfortable can be difficult.
To combat these challenges, I started using Kulzer's Ivory® ReLeaf™, which provides an innovative solution to these types of problems. It affords clinicians a means to protect themselves, their patients, and the dental environment from airborne contaminants that can lead to disease transmission. Using ReLeaf enables practitioners to perform dental hygiene thoroughly while staying compliant.
An ideal adjunct to the air polishing workflow, the ReLeaf system was easy to set up, and once I began using it, there was a noticeable reduction in the overspray reaching the patients' faces. Utilizing ReLeaf, I know I am minimizing exposure to contaminants and practicing in line with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for the use of HVE with powered instruments. Furthermore, patients love the comfort of ReLeaf, and I love the strength of the suction, so everyone wins. Also, the instrument is easy to sterilize and reasonably priced.
I envision ReLeaf being used in dental hygiene schools across the nation, primarily as students train with air polishing and ultrasonic devices. The ReLeaf system would provide a hands-free solution to allow students to concentrate on honing their air polishing and ultrasonic clinical skills without having to concentrate on managing water flow.
A hands-free solution is critical for clinicians. Dental hygienists are always battling the clock. With the ReLeaf system, they don't have to constantly interrupt procedures to pick up or reposition devices while performing vital tasks. Being able to hold other instruments instead of using HVE aides to alleviate visual strain also allows hygienists to practice better body posture.
In summary, for hygienists-especially those who perform APS-Kulzer's Ivory ReLeaf offers practical benefits to function and safety that are well worth the relatively small investment.
1. Hands-free: Most hygienists do not have an assistant. ReLeaf provides an "extra hand" to allow other vital tasks to be performed with uninterrupted suction.
2. Safety: Utilizing an HVE, ReLeaf helps augment safety by minimizing fluid build-up, aerosol contaminants, and risk
3. Patient comfort: ReLeaf's mouthpieces are soft and comfortable, and patients can control the suction themselves so they are at ease during procedures.
4. Productivity: ReLeaf quickly connects to existing HVE units and easily integrates into current workflows, creating improved efficiency and valuable time savings.
About the Author
Melissa A. Obrotka, RDH
Denville, New Jersey