Choosing the ideal powder for powder therapy

Choosing the ideal powder for powder therapy

Dental therapist Cat Edney explains the growing influence of powder therapy and how to choose the right powder for the job.

From stain removal on natural teeth, restorations and orthodontics to essential long-term implant maintenance, powder therapy is heralding a new era of professional oral hygiene for dental hygienists and therapists.

Powder therapy is a method that involves air polishing with powder products. It is a professional and highly effective way to remove biofilm and eliminate stains and plaque from tooth surfaces. With simplicity, speed and comfort, it’s a highly accepted treatment by both patients and clinicians, instilling confidence in its use.

Powder therapy was first used in the 1970s to remove supragingival stains from tooth surfaces. The first generation of powder therapy devices used sodium bicarbonate powder to lift stains. Still, the drawback to this early technique was that it could only be used on sound enamel. This meant its use was limited to certain patients.

By the 1990s, newer powder therapy devices using less abrasive, more specific types of powder, such as glycine and erythritol, became commonplace, reducing the risk of damage to enamel and soft tissues.

Powder choice matters

As dental hygienists and therapists, the choice of powders is a crucial aspect of our practice. With a wide range of powders available, we have the power to tailor our treatments to the specific needs of our patients. These include options for subgingival biofilm removal inside stable periodontal pockets.

Powder therapy devices used to dispense the powder include handheld options such as NSK’s Prophy-Mate neo and Perio-Mate. There are also standalone combined units such as NSK’s Varios Combi Pro. This device combines Piezon technology and powder therapy for highly effective oral hygiene treatment and biofilm control.

Understanding the capabilities of the powder therapy device being used and the differences in powders is crucial. For example, particle shape, size, and levels of abrasiveness. This knowledge, coupled with a thorough understanding of the patient’s medical history, empowers dental hygienists and therapists to provide the best possible care.

Powder therapy devices have very thin lumens through which the powder passes and which regulate the powder flow. If a powder is used with too large particles, the device can clog up very quickly.

It’s also recommended to check the manufacturer’s warranty. Using a different powder than is recommended may void the manufacturer’s warranty. Using genuine powder is the only way to achieve the best clinical results and prolong the lifespan of the equipment.

Making the right choice

There are several different structures to consider in the oral environment; all have different hardness and wear resistance. Therefore, powders need to be effective for the application and as minimally invasive as possible.

NSK has three powder options, each designed to safely and gently remove deposits and biofilm and maintain oral health.

  • For subgingival and supragingival powder therapy treatments and to remove mild to moderate staining Perio Mate Powder is a soft glycine-based powder (<25μm) that gently removes biofilm from periodontal pockets and can be used on crowns, bridges, composite bonding and soft tissues
  • For moderate to severe staining FLASH pearl powder is calcium carbonate powder (54μm) with a spherical shape and small particle size that rolls smoothly over tooth surfaces to remove stains, plaque and calculus quickly and safely
  • New SOFT pearl powder is a soft, supragingival powder made of large format glycine (65μm) that not only gently removes moderate supragingival staining but is also water-soluble to support healing and make clean-up easier.

A patient-centred approach

It’s important always to take a patient-centred approach to powder therapy. Looking at the patient’s medical history and clinical suitability at every stage ensures appropriate treatment.

As patient demand for aesthetics increases and evidence of the link between periodontitis and systemic disease grows, the need for prophy and perio solutions becomes essential in our daily practice. Powder therapy is a fantastic tool for hygienists and therapists, providing a technique for tackling many issues, from superficial staining to complete biofilm removal and maintaining the health of dental implants.

See how effective NSK’s Perio Mate Powder is for supragingival cleaning here.

Watch Cat’s introduction to new SOFT pearl powder here.

For courses on Powder Therapy visit and for upcoming webinars and webinar archive

This article is sponsored by NSK.

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