Air polishing: a review of current literature

Sarah J. Graumann, Michelle L. Sensat, Jill L. Stoltenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Routine tooth polishing continues to be an integral part of clinical practice even though the concept of selective polishing was introduced in the 1980s. This procedure assists in the removal of stains and plaque biofilm and provides a method for applying various medicaments to the teeth, such as desensitizing agents. Use of traditional polishing methods, i.e. a rubber-cup with prophylaxis paste, has been shown to remove the fluoride-rich outer layer of the enamel and cause significant loss of cementum and dentin over time. With the growing body of evidence to support alternative tooth polishing methods, dental hygiene practitioners should familiarize themselves with contemporary methods including air polishing. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of recent advancements in air polishing. The effect of air-powder polishing on hard and soft tissues, restorative materials, sealants, orthodontic appliances and implants, as well as health risks and contraindications to air polishing are discussed. A comprehensive computer based search made use of the following databases: CINAHL, Ovid Medline and PubMed. Articles that were not available on these sites were requested from Wilson Interlibrary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • air polishing
  • air polishing devices (APD)
  • aluminum trihydroxide (Al(OH)3)
  • calcium carbonate (CaCO3)
  • calcium sodium phosphosilicate (CaNaO6PSi)
  • glycine powder air polishing (GPAP)
  • sodium bicarbonate powder (NaHCO3)


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