AIRFLOW® Technology and Guided Biofilm Therapy

The EMS AIRFLOW® ONE is the latest product and technology in preventative dental care.

The advanced EMS Airflow® system utilises Guided Biofilm Therapy, which is an innovative way to remove plaque (dental biofilm) from the teeth.

The procedure is more effective and more comfortable for patients compared to traditional prophylaxis methods. It is also minimally invasive.

Airflow ONE Product

What is dental biofilm?

Dental biofilm is also known as dental plaque. It is an almost colourless, sticky film of bacteria that builds up on teeth daily and adheres to the tooth surface. It is not removed by rinsing with water; it can only be removed by brushing and flossing, or by a dental professional.

If dental plaque isn’t adequately removed while it is still ‘soft’, it hardens into calculus (tartar).

“Biofilm is a significant concern in dentistry. When micro-organisms colonise areas on teeth and form biofilm, they create a protective layer that is difficult to treat. As the biofilm accumulates and expands, it leads to caries and periodontal infections, which can increase the risk of systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, arthritis or diabetes1”.

(Hu-Friedy/Electro Medical Systems).

How does AIRFLOW® technology and Guided Biofilm Therapy differ to the traditional way that we clean teeth?

The traditional method of plaque (dental biofilm) and surface stain removal is called prophylaxis. The prophylaxis procedure involves the use of a slow speed power handpiece with a rubber cup or brush on the end, and gritty abrasive paste. You may have also heard this referred to as “polishing” the teeth.

Disadvantages of the traditional prophylaxis technique include:

  • Some patients may find it uncomfortable (disliking the sensation and sound).
  • Can be challenging to ensure all plaque is removed.
  • Ineffective for the more inaccessible areas such as under the gum margins, or between teeth.

At VC Dental we utilise the technique of Guided Biofilm Therapy, which is “the new approach in professional prophylaxis for biofilm management2”.

What is Guided Biofilm Therapy and AIRFLOW® technology?

Guided Biofilm Therapy is a more effective and more comfortable way to remove dental plaque (dental biofilm) by using AIRFLOW® technology.

Guided Biofilm Therapy involves applying a harmless dye to the teeth to physically stain the bacteria, which will then be effectively removed with the AIRFLOW® ONE product.

AIRFLOW® is a revolutionary, non-contact product that was developed in Switzerland. It projects a controlled stream of air, warm water (heated to 40 degrees Celsius), and very fine sweet powder onto both the teeth surface and hard-to-reach areas (including between the teeth and under the gum margins). It will dislodge and remove food particles, plaque, discolouration and stains.

The high-pressure stream of warm water, air and light powder cleans teeth faster, more efficiently and more comfortably.

Guided Biofilm Therapy is systematic and predictable, and based on clinically proven technologies3.

Advantages of the AIRFLOW® system:

  • More effective at removing plaque (dental biofilm) than traditional prophylaxis methods.
  • More effective at removing surface stains (such as tea, coffee, red wine and tobacco) than traditional prophylaxis methods.
  • Proven to be more comfortable for patients who suffer from sensitive teeth, as the water is heated to 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Eliminates the need for prophylaxis with a handpiece, rubber cup/brush and gritty paste.
  • Minimises the amount of time in which manual or power instruments (hand or ultrasonic scalers) are needed to remove calculus.
  • More comfortable for patients.
  • Quiet.
  • Less direct contact with dental instruments. Unlike the traditional prophylaxis method, the AIRFLOW® ONE instrument will not come into direct contact with the teeth.

We recommend AIRFLOW® Guided Biofilm Therapy for all patients, however it is especially beneficial for patients who hate the feeling of having their teeth cleaned, who have sensitive teeth, or who have dental anxiety.

The Guided Biofilm Therapy procedure

1. Disclosure

Your dental hygienist will apply a harmless, coloured dye to your teeth. The dye will physically stain the bacteria to show where the plaque (dental biofilm) is present in your mouth.

The bacteria will be stained in 3 different colours depending on the type of bacteria present, as shown in the photos below.

  • The pink staining is bacteria that has only been on the tooth surface for roughly 24 hours.
  • The dark blue staining is bacteria that has been on the tooth surface for longer than 24 hours.
  • The light blue staining is acid-producing plaque which is a high risk for causing cavities.

Guided Biofilm Therapy before and after

 

2. Presentation and instruction

Your dental hygienist will show you the results of the dye staining, and explain the different types of bacteria. You will be given a personalised education demonstration on how to effectively care for your teeth and gums at home to minimise future plaque build-up.

The dye staining is a great visual and motivational tool to show you the areas you might be missing at home, or that you need to spend a little more time on, when cleaning your teeth. Your hygienist will provide you with tips on how to clean these specific areas.

3. AIRFLOW® clean to remove plaque (biofilm) and stains

Your dental hygienist will now use the AIRFLOW® ONE instrument to effectively remove all the stained dye from your teeth, in turn removing all of the plaque (dental biofilm).

The instrument will also polish your teeth, and very effectively remove surface stains (such as tea, coffee, red wine and tobacco).

The AIRFLOW® ONE instrument will not come into direct contact with your teeth. You may however feel a light sensation from the air, warm water and light powder.

4. Calculus removal

Unfortunately, the AIRFLOW® does not eliminate the need for your dental hygienist to use manual or power instruments (hand or ultrasonic scalers) to remove the hard calculus deposits from your teeth.

However, the prior use of the AIRFLOW® instrument will often minimise the amount of time in which a manual or ultrasonic scaler is needed, and we may not need to use the scaler on every tooth in the mouth.

 

Airflow Product

 

References

  1. Hu-Friedy / EMS – A Better Way For Patient Care – (https://www.hu-friedy.com/sites/default/files/2019-04/956_HFL-162_GBT_Brochure_0219.pdf).
  2. EMS Dental (https://www.ems-dental.com/en/guided-biofilm-therapy).
  3. Hu-Friedy / EMS – A Better Way For Patient Care – (https://www.hu-friedy.com/sites/default/files/2019-04/956_HFL-162_GBT_Brochure_0219.pdf).