Why Air-Flow Therapy Improves Gum Tissue

We are excited to introduce Air-Flow Therapy, a new, innovative method of teeth cleaning, here at North Raleigh Periodontics. Cutting edge Air-Flow technology offers a vast array of benefits, setting it apart from traditional cleaning devices such as the prophy jet or prophy cup. Primarily, Air-Flow Therapy effectively targets and rapidly eradicates oral biofilm, a slimy, thin coating of bacteria that adheres to surrounding surfaces. Furthermore, Air-Flow Therapy saves time and increases comfort for patients. Finally, Air-Flow Therapy utilizes glycine powder—a naturally occurring compound that regulates bacteria and promotes bone health—to reduce inflammation and prevent a wide range of diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis/peri-implantitis.

Air-Flow handpieceOne significant advantage derived from using an Air-Flow Therapy handpiece during a periodontal cleaning is the device’s ability to painlessly and swiftly remove plaque and biofilm both from above and below the gum surface. The Air-Flow handpiece includes a small, flexible tip that can easily and comfortably insert into periodontal pockets for further removal of bacteria lurking below the gum line. The handpiece then releases a warm, gentle flow of water, air, and glycine powder directly into the pocket. This method disperses sticky biofilm and accumulated plaque, reducing pocket depths and inflammation and ultimately diminishing patients’ susceptibility to gum disease.

Another advantage of Air-Flow Therapy is the rapidity at which each tooth can be cleaned. For a thorough cleaning, Air-Flow requires just 5 seconds per teeth, whereas other methods require 30-60 seconds per tooth. Not only does the speed of the cleaning decrease patient discomfort, but it also frees up more time to focus on other important components of periodontal health such as removing tenacious, hard bacterial deposits known as calculus.

Air-Flow Therapy is also highly effective in diminishing peri-implant diseases. Diseases like peri-implant mucositis, the inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding implants, and peri-implantitis, the deterioration of both the gum and bone supporting the implant structure, occur when bacteria builds up subgingivally around the implant. It is necessary to clean the area surrounding the implant to prevent mucositis and peri-implantitis and preserve the implant. Air-Flow Therapy gently removes the biofilm on and around the implant without damaging the implant components, and it also can be used to eliminate biofilm that accumulates around dental restorations.

An additional benefit gained from Air-Flow Therapy is the glycine powder that is used in the air-flow handpiece. Glycine is a simple amino acid that inactivates bacteria like biofilm, preventing the bacteria from reproducing. It is biocompatible with the body, and the fine powder effectively removes biofilm with minimal discomfort. Also, glycine inhibits the growth of peptidoglycan, which makes up the outer cell wall of bacteria. When glycine breaks through the outer shell, the bacteria oozes out like jello and cannot reproduce. Whereas traditional powders can cause soft tissue damage if sprayed subgingivally, glycine powder can be sprayed underneath the gum line, eradicating the bacteria attempting to populate the area without harming gum tissue. In fact, in comparing glycine powder to traditionally used sodium-bicarbonate powder, research attests that glycine powder is significantly less harmful to the gingival tissue than sodium-bicarbonate powder. Moreover, studies have demonstrated a noticeable increase in gingival health and a decrease in staining with the use of glycine air polishing powder.

On the whole, Air-Flow therapy offers a plethora of benefits with which traditional periodontal cleaning methods cannot compete. Where devices such as the prophy jet or prophy cup take longer to clean the mouth, cannot reach subgingival plaque effectively, and may harm gum tissue, the Air-Flow handpiece eradicates biofilm that destroys soft tissue and bone with unparalleled brevity and comfort. Furthermore, Air-Flow Therapy utilizes the naturally occurring amino acid, glycine, to safely inhibit bacterial growth, remove teeth stains, and promote whole-body health.

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