One-step toothbrushing arrives!

We have come a long way from just cleaning teeth in the last 30 years. Thanks to science and technology, the future is a bright one.

We have come a long way from just cleaning teeth in the last 30 years. Thanks to science and technology, the future is a bright one.

The lines were wrapped around the exhibit booth four-deep. I inched closer to see what all the excitement was about. I had just completed presenting a seminar at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting (“How to Get a ‘Yes’ for Perio”) and planned to spend time on the exhibit floor looking at some of the new and exciting products. If you have ever attended this meeting, you remember that it is huge.

Large crowds were lined up at the Philips Sonicare booth to get a first-hand demonstration of the new Sonicare IntelliClean toothbrush. The newly developed system from Sonicare and Crest utilizes an integrative technology combining high frequency and high amplitude of bristle motion with a specially-formulated sodium-fluoride liquid toothpaste. Crest liquid toothpaste is delivered directly into the brush head before and during brushing. We all know that biofilm disruption is critical in establishing and maintaining oral health. We also know that consistent and thorough removal requires a higher level of patient compliance. According to research, increased brushing times have been directly correlated to better plaque or biofilm removal. This is the mantra of dental hygienists and every dental professional! So important is the issue of “you need to brush for longer than 30 seconds” that a two-minute timer feature is incorporated into several power toothbrushes, including Oral-B, Interplak, and Sonicare.

This is a great idea - one-step toothbrushing. And from what I saw in Chicago, so did those who had the opportunity to use the IntelliClean. In our never-ending quest to gain public awareness about the importance of oral health and to motivate oral self-care compliance, the bells and whistles of this new toothbrush may be just what it takes to get patients excited about brushing their teeth, spending more time doing it, and brushing and flossing more frequently.

Another new and exciting product launched by Dentsply International is Oraqix®. Distributed by OraPharma, manufacturers of Arestin, Oraqix provides “needle-free, patient-friendly anesthetic.” A combination of lidocaine and prilocaine delivered via canula, it provides localized anesthesia in periodontal pockets during scaling and root-planing. Hygienists I have met throughout the country are using Oraqix during periodontal treatment and are reporting amazing results. Even with patients who have a history of fear and supersensitivity, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Hygienists appreciate being able to proceed with site-specific treatment “that day,” without having to reschedule the patient. Dentists report they are very happy with the product because they are not interrupted while performing treatment in another operatory to go to hygiene to give anesthetic during scaling and root-planing procedures. The patients are happy because they don’t have to have an injection - otherwise known as the “needle,” a major issue for many patients. As with all materials and procedures, read the manufacturer’s directions and information on contraindications.

Speaking of periodontal therapy, conventional scaling and root-planing or ultrasonic debridement have been proven to be effective for treating early to moderate periodontitis, according to the “Consensus Report of the World Workshop on Contemporary Science in Clinical Periodontics (2003).” Local drug-delivery systems, medicaments, and antibiotics such as Arestin (minocycline) and PerioChip® (chlorhexidine), as well as systemic antibiotics such as Periostat® (subantimicrobial dose doxycycline, from CollaGenex) may be useful adjuncts in the treatment of chronic periodontitis.

We have come a long way from just cleaning teeth in the last 30 years. Thanks to science, technology, and the dedication and hard work of dental professionals worldwide, the future is a bright one.

Annette Ashley Linder, BS, RDH, is a recognized leader in the field and an award-winning speaker and consultant. She is a featured speaker at dental meetings and provides in-office consulting services with her team of business and clinical consultants. She may be reached at her Web site at, via e-mail at, or by phone at (804) 745-6015.

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