An easy-to-place, comfortable device designed to protect patients from aspirating or ingesting unwanted dental materials
One of a dentist’s worst nightmares is a patient accidentally ingesting or aspirating a foreign object. Unfortunately, accidents happen. It could be a bur, abutment, post, impression material, hand file, orthodontic bracket, or even an implant component, but no matter what unwanted item is ingested or inhaled, it poses a risk to a patient’s health and may cause clinical complications. Therefore, protecting a patient’s airway and preventing aspiration or ingestion should be of utmost importance to a dental practice.
Zirc has developed Airway Armor as a new safety mechanism to protect a patient’s airway. According to Zirc, the single-use, perforated plastic device is easy to place inside the patient’s mouth and remains tear resistant and comfortable, all while allowing the dental professional full access to the oral cavity.
Always aware of the potential for aspirating objects, Dr. Peter Auster was thrilled to test the Airway Armor for this DPS evaluation. “Placing implant abutments and crowns is risky in the posterior, [and Airway Armor] is a great option,” he said. “It blocks the open airway and does something no other product has attempted to do and works well!” Dr. Auster continued, “We rarely see brand new ideas, but this qualifies and satisfies a great need for all general dentists and specialists.”
Ease of Placement & Removal
Airway Armor helps keep small objects from falling down a patient’s throat during a wide variety of dental procedures, according to Zirc, which states that the product is easier to place and more durable than a dental dam. With the ability to loop floss on either end, it also creates effortless removal. Available in 3 sizes—small, medium, and large—Airway Armor is suitable for adults and children.
After a short adjustment period, Dr. Auster found Airway Armor to be easy to place in patients with a normal to high amount of opening. “The product itself is excellent,” he said, noting that the directions for usage could be improved. Dr. Ian Park also liked the easy placement and said it seemed comfortable to his patients, although sometimes the placement had to be adjusted due to tongue movement.
“It’s firm yet flexible,” shared Dr. Steven Andreaus, though he suggested that it could be “firmer with more of a bite-block aspect.” Dr. Joel Gentry suggested a more flexible fit to the hard palate in order to fit a wide variety of palate shapes.
Praising the product for its softness and flexibility, Dr. Aamna Nayyar suggested that it would be even better if there were some way to lock it at the placement location. Airway Armor allowed Dr. Ryan Willden to complete his procedures “much quicker and with less stress.” He liked the product’s ease of use and said, “It allowed production to move forward without worry.”
Protection of Airway / Tongue Retraction
“Airway Armor acts as a shield/ barrier to reduce or prevent aspiration concerns,” noted Dr. Andreaus. Calling Airway Armor a “simple device to protect objects from getting in to the throat,” Dr. Park said it was especially helpful “during an implant restorative procedure to prevent swallowing a dropped abutment.” Dr. Ernest Skaggs praised Airway Armor for its safety and said, “When handling small implant parts, it gave me a more secure area to work without fear and [improved] patient safety.”
Dr. Gentry noted another benefit of Airway Armor. “It not only shielded the airway, but it also retracted the tongue from the work site,” he said. “The firmness retracts the tongue and the perforations allow good airflow.”
Calling the product comfortable and flexible, Dr. Nayyar said, “Most of the patients liked it, except a few gaggers who were reluctant to use. Some gaggers were comfortable after they could adjust the placement to their liking.” Dr. Andreaus said his patients tolerated the device fairly well, definitely better than gauze, and Dr. Gentry agreed that Airway Armor is “so much better than placing gauze in the patient’s mouth which sometimes triggers a gag reflex.”
Noting that it was uncomfortable for some patients, Dr. Frank Kuzmin was pleased that it made it easier for him to work alone without an assistant. “My patients loved it compared to a dam,” shared Dr. David Feick, adding, “It’s so much easier than using a rubber dam.” Dr. Skaggs disclosed, “Airway Armor made me and my patients more comfortable.”
Lauding its comfort, safety, and ease of use, the majority of the evaluators said they would recommend Airway Armor. Calling it an “easy, efficient single-use solution to airway protection,” Dr. Christopher Esposito said it protected his patients from swallowing or aspirating the implant driver during restorative procedures. “Airway Armor is now a part of our standard protocol for implant surgical and restorative procedures,” Dr. Esposito concluded.