A clinical evaluation and comparison of bioactive glass and sodium bicarbonate air-polishing powders

J Dent. 2010 Jun;38(6):475-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Mar 9.


Objective: Compare clinical effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate and bioactive glass powders used for dental prophylaxis.

Methods: 25 patients were allocated to either good or poor oral hygiene subgroups (n=50). Using a double-blind, split-mouth model, all patients underwent prophylaxis treatment on mandibular teeth; maxillary teeth were untreated controls. Bioactive glass (Sylc, OSspray Ltd., UK) and sodium bicarbonate (Prophy Jet, Dentsply, UK) were applied randomly to opposite sides of each mouth. Sensitivity to cold air/ethyl chloride, dental shade change and procedural comfort were measured. All parameters were recorded immediately pre- and post-treatment and at 10-day recall.

Results: Bioactive glass air-polishing, in both subgroups, reported a 44% (0.80+/-0.10, p<0.05) decrease in dental sensitivity, against controls, immediately after application, and a 42% (0.85+/-0.05, p<0.05) decrease at 10-day recall when stimulated with cold air. Ethyl chloride stimulation showed a 10% (3.05+/-0.17, p<0.05) and 22% (2.64+/-0.33, p<0.05) reduction in sensitivity immediately post-op and at 10-day recall. Application of sodium bicarbonate powders increased sensitivity, 17% (1.76+/-0.3, p<0.05), at 10 days when stimulated with cold air. Both powders showed variation between subgroups in colour change, bioactive glass powder 1 and 4 shades whiter, sodium bicarbonate 1 and 2 shades whiter in good and poor oral hygiene groups, respectively. Patients in both subgroups reported a 46% (7.9+/-1.4, p<0.05) increase in comfort of procedure with the bioactive glass over that when using sodium bicarbonate.

Conclusions: Bioactive glass air-polishing was more clinically and statistically effective at desensitising both good and poor oral hygiene groups, and removing stain in the poor oral hygiene patient subgroup. Bioactive glass also provided better overall patient comfort during the procedure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ceramics
  • Cold Temperature
  • Color
  • Dental Prophylaxis / instrumentation
  • Dental Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dentin Sensitivity / therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ethyl Chloride
  • Female
  • Glass* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Materials Testing
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Powders
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Bicarbonate / therapeutic use*
  • Tooth Discoloration / therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents
  • Powders
  • bioactive glass 45S5
  • Ethyl Chloride
  • Sodium Bicarbonate