What is it?
It’s a hands free dental suction system that is primarily designed for dental hygienists. The green part, which is shaped like a leaf (hence the name), is disposable. The remaining parts come in a few sections. The hard, clear plastic part, where the leaf attaches, is curved 180 degrees so it can keep the leaf firmly against the patient’s cheek. The next 8″ of flexible tubing is separated from the long flexible tubing by a straight plastic connector. The 180 degree plastic part and the 8″ of flexible tubing get autoclaved after every use. The long flexible tubing (3-4′) travels to the HVE valve and then connects via a straight plastic connector located at the end of it. See photos below.
How does it perform?
For those who have used the original ReLeaf System, this is not the same product. This is a much improved version. The original version performed poorly; mainly because there were not enough suction channels. The new leaf provides strong suction at the tip and all along both sides. The leaf is pretty comfortable for the patient (I’ve never had a complaint) and it hangs from the patient’s cheek well. Overall performance is very good, but I do have a few negatives. One, the patient has to slightly tilt towards the leaf for it to perform well. Two, when the leaf is placed on the patient’s right side, the u-shaped part is slightly in the way for right handed clinicians (and vice versa for left handers on the left side). And three, and this is being a little picky, handling, maintaining and storing extra tubing is a pain in the ass for some clinicians. But regardless of those few minor negatives, the new 2.0 version does perform very well overall and I do recommend the product. The ReLeaf’s bread and butter function is providing hands free suction for hygienists when they ultrasonic scale, which allows non-stop scaling. That’s a real time saver. It will easily knock off 10, maybe even 15, minutes off the average hygienist’s scaling time when compared to scaling for 1 hour with a traditional saliva ejector. The Releaf can be used to place sealants, but performance there is okay at best. For sealants, I would highly recommend using an Isolite, a DryShield, or a Mr. Thirsty isolation system instead.
What does it cost and is it worth it?
The per use cost is about $1, not bad. The cost for the rest of the system (the reusable parts) is negligible. If you purchase the pro kit the hardware is free. So the real cost is the disposable leaf. Is the $1 per use cost worth it? I think so. $1 to decrease your 1 hour scaling time by 10 minutes? The math says yes. If you’re paid $30 per hour then your employer is paying you $5 for that 10 minutes. But let’s forget about the money for a second and just focus on the time saved. What if you could save 10, 20, or 30 minutes in your day? Wouldn’t that make your day less stressful? Some of you might be thinking, “My employer is cheap. He or she won’t pay for that.” If that’s the case, I would encourage you to just buy them yourself. To keep costs down, you can maybe just use them for your SRP patients. The starter kit is only $30. Give it try.
Mark Frias, RDH