Use of a continual sweep motion to compare air polishing devices, powders and exposure time on unexposed root cementum

Mandy L. Herr, Ralph DeLong, Yuping Li, Scott A. Lunos, Jill L. Stoltenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Low abrasive air polishing powders are a viable method for subgingival biofilm removal. This in vitro study evaluated the effects of air polishing using a standard tip on cementum following clinically recommended protocols. Forty-eight teeth were randomly divided into eight groups with six teeth per group. Teeth were treated using either a Hu-Friedy EMS or DENTSPLY Cavitron® air polishing device. One of three glycine powders (Air-flow 25 µm, Clinpro 45 μm, Clinpro+TCP 45 μm) or a sodium bicarbonate powder (NaHCO3 85 μm) was sprayed on cementum using a clinically relevant sweeping motion. Volume and depth of cementum removed after 5 and 90 s exposures were calculated. Surface texture was evaluated using SEMs taken following the last exposure. After 5 s exposures, neither unit nor powder had a substantial effect on volume loss or defect depth. After 90 s exposures, differences between powders existed only for the DENTSPLY unit (p < 0.0001). Pairwise comparisons for this unit revealed mean volume loss and maximum defect depth were greater for NaHCO3 85 μm than the glycine powders (p < 0.0001). The 90 s exposure produced greater mean volume loss and defect depth for all powders (p < 0.0001). SEM images revealed dentinal tubule exposure with all powders; however, exposed tubules were larger and more prevalent for NaHCO3 85 μm. Root surface loss was similar for glycine powders evaluated in this study. Differences in powder performance between units may be related to tip apertures and spray patterns. Additional research is needed to determine if cementum loss is greater than what occurs with conventional biofilm removal methods, such as curets and ultrasonic scalers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Air polishing
  • Dental cementum
  • Glycine powders
  • Sodium bicarbonate powder
  • Standard tip

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