How Airflow Has Transformed A Large Group Of Practices In Kent

Gentle Dental Care Group is a family-run group of dental practices based in Croydon, Sutton and Bromley. They opened their first (Croydon) branch back in 1983 and since then the practice has slowly grown to become the successful eight-practice group it is today.

The team at Gentle Dental are strong believers that good oral hygiene is an essential requirement for their patients, a belief that is derived from their passion for periodontics. Their number two priority (we’ll get onto number 1 shortly) has always been to help patients keep their natural teeth for as long as possible on the premise that if patients can keep their teeth clean, they will ultimately last longer.

The main cause of periodontal disease was initiated by bacterial plaque biofilm. Often, the first thing patients, dentists and hygienists notice are the hard deposits of calculus that build up on their teeth, and they will go straight to those areas to clean first. However, the priority should be the soft deposits of plaque that is often very difficult to see with the naked eye. It’s this stuff that’s teeming with bacteria.

In fact, the team at Gentle Dental Care love showing patients their own harmful bacteria through a dark field microscope. You can literally see the bacteria moving around on a big screen TV and if you ever wanted to motivate a patient to clean interdentally, this would be it!

The Goal of Professional Cleaning 

The goal should always be the removal of soft plaque. Now, we all know the day to day removal of this soft plaque is one of the most important factors in terms of success but what is the correct method of professional removal?

The traditional method was to use hand scalers, which we know is a painstakingly slow process, so Dentists were delighted when ultra-sonic scalers came out. However, there are two main issues with ultra-sonic scalers – they can be painful, and they are not great at removing generalised soft plaque because the tips are so thin. If you wanted to do it thoroughly, the best process would be to disclose the patient and then go about trying to remove every single bit of plaque.

The main problem with this method is that sometimes your hygienist doesn’t have enough time in their 30-minute appointment to remove every single bit of plaque which leaves these tiny little bits of pink-purple dye sitting on the patients’ teeth. It’s particularly difficult to remove the interproximal deposits. To spare patients having to walk out with dye on their teeth, the use of dye is restricted which leads to dentists ‘guessing’ where the soft plaque is and blindly cleaning the patients’ teeth which leads to suboptimal outcomes.

Airflow Technology 

Thankfully, dentists do not have to rely on hand scalers anymore. Today, Airflow technology and guided biofilm therapy have saved both time and unnecessary painful plaque removal for patients.

Airflow works by blasting air, water and powder to gently and effectively clean teeth, restorations, implants and dentures. It’s super quick – taking seconds to clean each tooth. As the water, air and powder combination comes out of the nozzle in a dispersed method, the cleaning range is increased which means you can clean a whole mouth easily within 30 minutes.

Do you remember at the start of the article we said that we would come back to Gentle Dental Care’s first priority? Well, it is to ensure patients receive pain-free dentistry, hence their practice name. Feedback from their patients following their experience of Airflow constantly delights the Gentle Dental Care team. Knowing their aim of providing pain-free, effective, teeth cleaning treatment is so well received by patients is always music to their ears.

Below - The Airflow in Action


Another great advantage of using the Airflow machine is that it’s the only real way to clean implants. The alternatives are not that great – you have ultrasonics which could potentially scratch the surface or plastic handscalers which are pretty much useless. With the Airflow machine, it takes a few seconds to clean around implants. 

Since using the machine, the incidence of peri-mucositis and peri-implantitis at Gentle Dental Care has reduced significantly. Dr Kam Sachdev, Lead Clinician at Gentle Dental Care adds “By using the normal tip and powder the machine cleans up to 4mm below the gingivae.

If you want to clean deeper, a special tip is placed which will allow subgingival debridement up to 8mm. Patients have loved the clean feel they are left with when leaving the surgery and they are impressed with how it manages to get target the hard to reach interdental regions where stains seem to accumulate.

When deciding which machine to go for we trusted EMS over the competition as they had all the scientific papers published which showed how effective the Airflow technology was. The level of service from Optident has been fantastic when we sent our machine in for servicing, Optident loaned us a replacement as our hygienist love it so much, they couldn’t work without it.”

Dr Mish Sachdev, Specialist in Periodontics and Implants at Gentle Dental Care is committed to improving the skill set of the local dental community. If you share a passion for periodontics or would like to expand your knowledge and skills, make sure you pop along to one of his free education seminars at Croydon Dental Seminars, the largest regular dental education group in South London.

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