The dental hygiene instructors warned us
My classmates and I were allowed to assist each other in dental hygiene school when we placed dental sealants, but the instructors would often say, “In the real world, you won’t have an assistant to help you, so you better get used to working alone!” I had no reason to disbelieve them, but it didn’t make sense.
Sealants need proper isolation
My first employer, to my delightful surprise, wanted the assistants to help me place sealants, and lucky for me, they always did. She understood (and cared) that placing high quality sealants required uncompromised isolation.
My second employer, unfortunately, was not so understanding. As my hygiene instructors had warned me, I found myself placing sealants alone with my own two hands. I was often told, “do the best you can”, but I was not happy with my results. There had to be a better way.
I needed a 3rd hand!
This put me on a frantic lookout for a product that would help me do this alone. Maybe an artificial 3rd hand. Something! I searched high and low and tried many different suction and retraction products, but nothing worked until…
I discovered a product that combined multiple functions into one isolation system (bite block, cheek retraction, tongue retraction, and evacuation). It worked extremely well. I could now not only place high quality sealants alone, but I could place them in record time! I would micro-etch, rinse, acid etch, rinse, dry, place sealant and cure without missing a beat.
I found a great solution, but my employer wouldn’t pay for it
But as great as this isolation system was, my employer was not willing to purchase the disposable mouthpieces at $2.50 per use. It was a little frustrating, but I refused to give them up, so I bought them myself. In the next 12 years or so, I ended up spending thousands of dollars of my own money, but I didn’t care. I needed and wanted those mouthpieces to place high quality sealants.
Isolation systems make ultrasonic scaling easier too
But the benefits did not stop at sealants. I also used the isolation system with my scaling and root planing patients. With the continuous HVE suction, full retraction and the patient not closing, I never had to stop the ultrasonic scaler. It not only saved time, but it also reduced my stress (and the patients’ stress).
Isolation systems protect the airway
The isolation system also gave me a sense of security. For example, one day my ultrasonic scaler tip snapped off, bounced off the silicone mouthpiece and landed on the lingual side of tooth #18. With the mouthpiece in place and safely guarding the patient’s airway, I just calmly grabbed the broken tip and removed it from the patient’s mouth.
Isolation systems reduce aerosols
And lastly, the isolation system helped with aerosol reduction. When the COVID pandemic hit, dentistry’s efforts to reduce aerosols only increased. Having an isolation system in place will help to reduce aerosols and your hygienist’s concerns and fears at the same time.
My thoughts on the VacuLUX isolation system
Ascentcare Dental’s VacuLUX product is the newest of these type of isolation systems on the market today. Based on my experience with it so far, I’m pretty impressed. It seems like they took the common complaints of the competing products (noise, per use cost, comfort, reliability, etc.) and addressed them head on with their unique design.
The noise reduction is by far the most impressive and obvious improvement. I would estimate that the VacuLUX system is 50% quieter than it’s competitors! The other improvements I noticed include:
• A softer silicone for increased comfort (without sacrificing the ability to retract)
• A per use cost of 50 cents (or LESS if you maintain the mouthpieces properly)
• Well designed suction channels for reliable and consistent evacuation (the flaps don’t get pinched)
The VacuLUX isolation system is the “assistant” your hygienist wants and needs
Here’s what Dr. Gaston, a new VacuLUX isolation system owner, had to say about it:
“My hygienists find it great for scaling and root planning procedures and for sealant placement. I cannot stand replacing sealants!! I usually attribute this to moisture contamination. When this happens, we replace them (no charge of course) but I despise doing things twice. My hygienists place most sealants by themselves. This can be challenging. Your system allows for easier and better sealants.”
Fourteen years ago our dental hygiene instructors warned us, “In the real world, you won’t have a assistant to help you, so you better get used to working alone!”
Well…they were wrong. With isolation systems like the VacuLUX available to us today, hygienists no longer have to work alone and hygienists no longer have to compromise the quality of their sealants.
Get your hygienists a VacuLUX isolation system today and see the difference. They’ll love you for it.
Mark Frias, RDH