12 Dental Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

March 3, 2018

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Who doesn’t like finding clever solutions to everyday tasks? We recently asked the owners of Berman Dental Instruments how they use dental instruments and other office supplies to manage their time more efficiently. Here’s what they said!

1. Air Dusters Keep It Cold 

As a periodontist, when working on the upper, I have to numb everyone! Patients hate this part of the procedure! To help reduce discomfort, briefly chill a cotton pellet (1-2 seconds) and hold it to the tissue before administrating the anesthetic. This significantly dampens the discomfort level patients experience, as long as the anesthesia is flowed in slowly.

How do you get it cold?

Use a typical air duster we all use on our computer keyboards and other electronics to dust them.

When you spray it in an upright position, you get cold air. When you flip it over and spray it, it becomes a cold liquid.

The key to successfully using this technique is to:

  • Prewarn the patient they will be feeling a very cold sensation on the palate.
  • Saturate the cotton pellet completely.
  • Briefly (1-2 seconds only!) apply to the tissues.
  • Slowly inflitrate the local.

2. Teflon Tape to the Rescue 

Plumber’s Teflon tape is the “duct tape” of dentistry! Some uses:

  • Place in dental implant screw access holes to protect screw heads.
  • Use over adjacent teeth when placing direct veneers instead of nonpliable plastic matrix strips.
  • Place in undercuts when picking up attachments.
  • When restoring the first of two adjacent cavity preparations, place Teflon tape in the second prep to support the matrix while you restore the first one.

3. A Probe to Help Control the Flow 

Use a periodontal probe to spread flowable composite in the base of the composite restoration preps to make sure the cavosurfaces are evenly coated.

4. A Screwdriver’s Crowning Moment 

Small flathead screwdrivers can be safely put through the autoclave. After using a 330 bur to section through the buccal and incisal or occlusal portion of a crown, the small screwdriver head can be placed snugly in the groove created by the 330 and then twisted to break the cement seal and readily remove the crown.

5. Glycerin to Keep Things Slick 

Glycerin can be purchased at a local pharmacy and used as a thin lubricant over a tooth prepared for a crown and the adjacent teeth to ensure temporary crown material won’t lock onto it or stick to adjacent teeth as it sets.

6. The Minnesota Retractor to Prep Molars 

When prepping posterior molars, use the Minnesota Retractor when upper and lower molars are prepped at the same time. Place the retractor in vestibule, and use it as a fulcrum to get a hard luxatemp bite (bisacrylic). The retractor stabilizes the luxatemp, giving you and the lab a very predictable, repeatable bite relationship.

7. Sickle Scalers for Removing Temporaries  

A hygiene sickle scaler is great to use when removing temporaries.

8. Plastic Composite Instruments for Packing and Incising 

Use a plastic composite instrument to pack retraction cords and also to make conservative crestal incisions in the gingiva when placing implants with surgical guides.

9. Endodontic Explorer 

The #16/17 Endodontic Explorer is great for negotiating canal orifices and interproximal caries or resorption. It is also perfect for removing tightly packed cotton pellets from within the pulp chamber.

10. Use a Mirror Handle for Pain Relief 

For a palatal injection, place pressure at greater palatine foramen area with the handle of the mirror during initial moments of injection. It’s a distraction, but it seems to help!

11. Curette for Carrying and Packing 

I use a curette to not only debride an extraction socket, but to carry bone material into sockets and pack it during grafting procedures, as well as to create the perfect pocket between the bone and soft tissue into which I can slip a PTFE membrane to cover the grafted socket.

12. Transport Implant Screws with Ease 

For carrying implant screws to and from the mouth, before you use a driver to pick up an implant screw, dip the tip of the driver into a water-soluble gel, such as KY jelly, and you will be able to carry the screw with a great security to/from the implant. It is difficult to even shake the screw off of the driver!

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