Purpose: The objective of this paper is to provide a broad overview of the predominant findings from research published on pulsating dental water jets over the last 45 years.
Method: The author performed a computerized MEDLINE search covering the years from 1962 to 2009, with 1962 chosen since it was the year the first dental water jet was introduced. Key words included "oral irrigator" and "oral irrigation." All past and current studies were reviewed and those that reflected original research were included. The article is not intended to provide an exhaustive detailed article review, but rather a broad review of predominant findings on currently available traditional pulsating dental water jets with no novelty features. The author makes no attempt to statistically analyze any of the data. Information reported in the article comes from the original investigator analysis and interpretation.
Results: The dental water jet is supported by a well-established body of evidence demonstrating the ability to remove plaque, reduce periodontal pathogens, gingivitis, bleeding and inflammatory mediators.
Conclusion: The dental water jet is a viable tool for reducing bleeding and gingivitis in a wide variety of patients. Due to the extensive body of knowledge on this product, a meta-analysis or systematic review is warranted. Additional research is recommended to confirm plaque biofilm removal, its effectiveness in comparison to flossing and efficacy on patients with special oral or systemic health needs.