Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Deborah Bauman

Committee Member

Irene Connolly

Committee Member

Michele L. Darby

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 S38 2008


The purpose of this in vitro study was to compare the traditional 360° unirotational disposable prophylaxis angle (DPA) to a 90° reciprocating DPA in terms of spatter production. The 2x3x3 factorial design involved: 2 types of DP As x 3 types of prophylaxis pastes (fine, medium and coarse) x 3 dental handpiece revolutions per minute (rpm) settings (1500, 2000, and 3000). The eStylus'™ operated the DP As under controlled speeds. Using a mounted dental manikin, 90° reciprocating DP As and 360° unirotational DP As were evaluated for spatter production with the use of prophylaxis pastes of various grits in 270 laboratory trials. For each trial, a board measuring five by four feet was covered with graph paper. The graph paper apparatus was placed two inches below a dental manikin's chin. Facial aspects of mandibular teeth were polished from first molar to first molar. One drop of dyed saliva substitute was applied to each tooth. The rubber cup was filled with prophylaxis paste and each tooth was polished for three seconds. Spatter accumulation was measured by counting the number of dye droplets found on each of the squares on the graph paper. Fifteen trials for each independent variable interaction were conducted and means and standard deviations were computed. Data was analyzed using the three-way ANOV A at the .05 level of significance.

Results revealed a statistically significant difference between the amounts of spatter produced with a 90° reciprocating DP A verses traditional 360° unirotational DPA. The 90° reciprocating DPA produced significantly less spatter than the traditional 360° unirotational DP A. Results revealed no statistically significant difference in the spatter generated by fine, medium, or coarse grit prophylaxis pastes when using the 90° reciprocating DPA. However, results reveal that when using the 360° unirotational DP A, the type of prophylaxis paste was a significant factor in the amount of spatter production. The 360° unirotational DPA produced significantly more spatter with increasing rpm. Conversely, there was no difference in the amount of spatter produced by 1500, 2000, or 3000 rpm while using the 90° reciprocating DP A. In conclusion, the 360° unirotational DPA produces significantly more spatter than the 90° reciprocating DPA.


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