Recently, while preparing for a lecture on posterior restorative dentistry, I did some research on matrices so I could discuss creating an ideal contact while placing a direct composite restoration. One of the requirements for an adequate matrix is overcoming the thickness of the matrix to create the appropriate intensity contact. As I read this piece of the definition I became curious enough to continue my research and seek a solution to overcoming the thickness of the matrix band.
I was amazed to learn that the act of wedging two teeth apart can take several minutes to be complete. It makes sense as I can think of many times when I have placed a wedge and then before I was ready to place the final restoration had to place a larger size wedge because the first was loose between the teeth.
With this information in hand, I began to place a wedge between two adjacent teeth needing to be restored interproximally prior to beginning the preparation. Usually by the time I am ready to place a matrix, I have to exchange this wedge for one of a larger size. I find it much easier to complete the interproximal preparation as the adjacent tooth surfaces are slightly separated. In addition, I love the resulting interproximal contacts and the reliability with which I create these.