A number of tooth brushing techniques have achieved acceptance by the dental profession. Each technique has been designed to achieve a definite goal. Hence, no procedure can be described as the best. Depending on the individual cases, the techniques of tooth brushing may have to be altered to achieve the maximum beneficial effect.
- The bass method or sulcus cleaning method.
- Modified bass technique
- Modified stillman’s technique
- Fones/circular/scrub method
- Vertical method-Leonard’s method
- Charters method
- Scrub brush method
- The roll technique
- Physiologic method-smith method
The bass method or sulcus cleansing method
It is the most widely accepted and most effective method for the removal of dental plaque present adjacent to and directly underneath the gingival margin.
- It is most adaptable for-
- Open interproximal areas.
- Cervical areas beneath the height of contour of enamel.
- Exposed root surfaces.
- It is recommended for patients with or without periodontal involvement.
The bristles are placed 45 degrees angle to the gingiva and moved in small circular motions.
Strokes are repeated 20 times. 3 teeth at a time.
On the lingual aspect of anterior teeth,the brush is inserted vertically and the neck of the brush is pressed into the gingival sulci and proximal surfaces at a 45 degree angle.
The bristles are then activated.
Occlusal surfaces are cleaning by pressing the bristles firming against the pits and fissures and then activating the bristles.
- Effective method for removing plague.
- Provides good gingival stimulation
- Easy to learn.
- Overzealous brushing may convert the very short strokes into a scrub brush technique and causes injury to the gingival margin.
- Time consuming
- Dexterity requirement is too high for certain patients
Modified bass technique
- As a routine oral hygiene measure
- Intrasulcular cleansing.
This technique combines the vibratory and circular movements of the bass technique with the sweeping motion of the roll technique. The toothbrush is held in a way that the bristles are at 45 degrees to the gingiva. Bristles are gently vibrated by moving the brush handle in a back and forth motion. The bristles are then swept over the sides of the teeth towards their occlusal surfaces in a single motion.
- Excellent sulcus cleaning
- Good interproximal and gingival cleaning.
- Good gingival stimulation.
- Dexterity of wrist is required.
Modified stillman’s technique
- Dental plaque removal form cervical areas below the height of contour of the enamel and from exposed proximal surfaces.
- General application for cleaning tooth surfaces and massage of the gingiva
- Recommended for cleaning in areas with progressing gingival recession and root exposure to prevent abrasive tissue destruction.
The bristles are pointed apically with an oblique angle to the long axis of the tooth
The bristles are positioned partly on the cervical aspect of teeth and partly on the adjacent gingiva.
The bristles are activated by short back and forth motions and simultaneously moved in a coronal direction.
20 strokes are applied and procedure is repeated systematically on adjacent teeth.
- Time consuming
- Improper brushing can damage the epithelial attachment.
Fones method or circular/scrub method-
- Young children.
- Physically or emotionally handicapped individuals.
- Patients who lack dexterity.
The child is asked to stretch his/her arms such that they are parallel to the floor.
The child is then asked to make big circles using the whole arm to draw circles in the air.
The circles are reduced in diameter until very small circles are made in front of the mouth.
The child is now ready to make circles on the teeth with the toothbrush making sure that the teeth and gums are covered.
- It is easy to learn
- Shorter time is required
- Possible trauma to gingiva
- Interdental areas are not properly cleaned.
- Detrimental for adults especially who use the brush vigoursly.
Vertical method-Leonard method
- Vertical stroke is used.
- Maxillary and mandibular teeth are brushed separately
The bristles of the toothbrush are placed at 90 degree angle to the facial surfaces of the teeth.
With the teeth edge to edge, place the brush with the filaments against the teeth at right angles to the long axis of the teeth.
Brush vigoursly without great pressure with a stroke that is mostly up and down on the tooth surfaces with just a slight rotation or circular movement after striking the gingival margin with force.
Enough pressure is used.it is not intended that the upper and lower teeth shall be brushed in the same series of strokes.
The teeth are placed edge to edge to keep the brush slipping over the occlusal or incisal surfaces.
Most convenient and effective for small children with deciduous teeth.
Interdental spaces of the permanent teeth of adults are not properly cleaned.
- Individuals having open interdental spaces with missing papilla and exposed root surfaces.
- Those wearing fixed partial dentures or orthodontic appliances.
- For patients who have had periodontal surgery.
- Patients with moderate interproximal gingival recession.
a soft/medium multi-tufted tooth brush is indicated for this technique. Bristles are placed at an angle of 45 degrees to the gingiva with the bristles directed coronally. The bristles are activated by mild vibratory strokes with the bristle ends lying interproximally.
Massage and stimulation for marginal and interdental gingiva.
- Brush ends do not engage the gingival sulcus to remove subgingival bacterial accumulations
- In some areas the correct brush placement is limited or impossible, therefore modifications become necessary which add to the complexity of the procedure.
- Requirements in digital dexterity are high.
Scrub brush method
This method of brushing requires vigorous horizontal, vertical and circular motions.it is the virtual free style of the brushing scene.
- Not very effective at plaque removal
- Tooth abrasion and gingival recession.
The roll technique
This method of brushing is also known as the rolling stroke method or ADA method or the sweep method.it works fairly well for patients with anatomically normal gingival tissues.
- Adult patients with limited dexterity.
- Useful for preparatory instruction for modified stillman’s technique since the initial brush placement is the same.
The bristles are placed at a 45 degree angle. The toothbrush is slightly rolled across the tooth surface toward the occlusal surfaces. This technique requires some flexibility around the wrist.
Provides gingival massage and stimulation.
- Brushing too high during initial placement can lacerate the alveolar mucosa.
- Tendency to use quick, sweeping strokes resulting in no brushing for the cervical third of the tooth, since the brush tips pass over rather than into the area and likewise for the interproximal area.
- Replacing the brush with filament tips directed into the gingiva may produce punctuate lesions.
Physiologic method-smith method
The physiologic method was described by smith and advocated later by bell. It was based on the principle that the toothbrush should follow the physiologic pathway that is followed by food when it traverses over the tissues during mastication.
Bristles are pointed incisally or occlusally and then moved along and over the tooth surfaces and gingiva. The motion is gentle sweeping from incisal or occlusal surfaces over to facial surfaces and progressing towards and over the gingiva. It is almost an attempt to duplicate natures self-cleansing and gingival stimulation mechanism during mastication of food.
- Natural self-cleansing mechanism.
- Supragingival cleaning is good.
Interdental spaces and sulcular areas of teeth are not properly cleaned.