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Plastic flexible tipped color-coded periodontal probe more comfortable for patients

Solvay Advanced Polymers Llc : 12 September, 2006  (New Product)
A medical grade of RADEL R polyphenylsulfone from Solvay Advanced Polymers, L.L.C. is replacing metal in the manufacture of a one-of-a-kind dental probe used to more easily detect periodontal disease.
The patented PerioWise probe, manufactured by Premier Dental Products Company of Plymouth Meeting, Penn., is the first fully plastic perio probe specifically designed to improve patient comfort and safety, and to provide dental professionals with a more reliable diagnostic tool that also aids in patient education.

During examination, the practitioner measures the depth of the space between the tooth and the gum by gently inserting the slightly rounded flexible tip of the PerioWise probe. The green and red color-colored bands on the tip of the white-colored probe make it possible to assess the patient’s periodontal health at a glance.

The universally understood color-coding of green for 'go' and red for 'stop' gives dental professionals a simple, visual tool to educate patients about their condition. The green band from 0-3 mm is normal “pocket depth”. If the green mark is visible and there is bleeding, the diagnosis is gingivitis (the first and earliest stage of periodontal disease). When the green band is not visible and the probe reaches a red mark at 5 mm or more, the diagnosis is periodontitis (the next stage of periodontal disease).

Traditional metal probes have proven problematic for several reasons. First, their resemblance to surgical instruments often causes patients to be fearful of what should be a routine and relatively pain-free procedure. Second, sharp metal tips may impinge the tissue, cause bleeding, and add to patient discomfort.

Third, it’s difficult to read markings on polished steel probes because of the high reflectivity created by the dental light used during examinations. Fourth, metal probes can scratch and cause damage to titanium implants.

Bill McHale, vice president of product development for Premier Dental Products, believes that the PerioWise probe addresses all of these concerns and credits RADEL R polyphenylsulfone for making it possible.

“We needed a strong, flexible plastic that could be repeatedly sterilized without losing its structural integrity. We also needed a white color for the background to maximize the visibility of the green and red-colored bands, which is particularly valuable during oral photography,” explains McHale. “RADEL R resin was the only material we tested that met all of our performance requirements.”

According to McHale, the all plastic probe eliminates the danger of scratching patient implants. Plus, the PerioWise probe has a built-in wear indicator that visually signals the dental professional when it’s time to replace it.
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