Air-polishing devices are used for the instrumentation of the root surface. Their potential of harm to the hard and/or soft tissues needs to be considered during periodontal treatment. The objective of this systematic review was to analyse the effects of air polishing devices on oral tissues.


The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were screened for studies published through 18 November 2013. The surface modifications on human cementum, dentine or gingiva after the instrumentation were considered as outcomes.


Of the 1266 abstracts screened, 17 studies were included in the analysis. Different air polishing powders consisting of sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, pumice or glycine were used in different ex vivo or in vitro settings. Thirteen publications reported data on the effects of air polishing devices on cementum and dentine. Hard tissue modifications, including defect depths and volume, caused by sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate powders were significantly greater compared to powders consisting of glycine. The soft tissue modifications using different modes of instrumentation were assessed in four publications. The data demonstrate less potential of harm to the gingiva after spraying with glycine powder compared to sodium bicarbonate powder or instrumentation with curettes.


Glycine powder air polishing may be safely applied to human root surfaces and gingivae.

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