Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:58 pm

Dental hygiene program wins funds for new polisher


Dixie State University’s dental hygiene program won new equipment to efficiently clean incoming patients’ mouths with the help of the DSU student senate. 

It all started when Lisa Welch, the senior clinic coordinator and assistant professor, said she read “The Blazer Digest,” which had information regarding a student legislation competition run by DSU’s Student Association Academic Senate. The senate is made up of student representatives who can help fund students who are interested in furthering their academic pursuits. Different departments on campus had to present their proposals and a budget for what they needed to compete in October 2016.

“We had been looking at this new polisher because we had just gotten back from a seminar saying how it’s going to change the way that we practice dental hygiene,” Welch said. 

Assistant professor Viki Points said the dental hygiene students won second place last semester and were awarded $1,000 to purchase a new subgingival air polisher.

The subgingival air polisher is called the Air-Flow Handy 3.0, which is capable of going underneath a patient’s gums to get rid of bacteria and prevent disease. 

The Air-Flow Handy 3.0 uses a fine powder with a water jet to polish the teeth’s surface, Welch said.

“It is 100 times better to get bacteria off and [the subgingival air polisher] gets it off better than a normal polishing cup,” said Ashlee Weiss, a senior dental hygiene major from St. George.

With a rubber polishing cup, the dental hygienist uses a gritty paste to go around the teeth to remove debris, Weiss said. However, the polishing cup isn’t capable of going underneath to clean the gums and cannot be used on crowned teeth. When comparing the two, the Air-Flow Handy 3.0 is faster and safer to use on all types of teeth, Weiss said.

The Air-Flow Handy 3.0 will also be beneficial for the hygienist and patient, Welch said.

“It’s faster for the clinician so it’s less fatigue on their hands, and it’s also much more comfortable for patients,” Welch said.

Dental hygiene students are now required to use the subgingival air polisher in their clinical class.

“We want to give them the experience of using it in a very supervised environment so they can say, ‘Hey I know how to use this’’and be more marketable,” Points said.

For those interested in getting their teeth cleaned by DSU’s Public Dental Hygiene Clinic, teeth cleanings cost $25 for students and faculty. Call 435-879-4900 to schedule an appointment, which is located at the Russell C. Taylor Health Science Building. The clinic is open Monday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.