Applying a pontic barrier Figure 1There are clinical times that we have to bond a pontic tooth on top of a fresh surgical site. If your surgeon is like mine, he or she doesn’t want anything getting into the site. However, we often have composite to adjust and polish, and we know that the process will create some particulate material that will find its way in.

The barrier mediums that work well are Teflon tape and rubber dam, but getting that material underneath your pontic once bonded is challenging. It’s hard to try and poke it through because you will poke the sutures and the saliva makes it slippery and difficult to manage.

I have found it works easiest to use a floss thread holder by putting it through a small hole in the strip of rubber dam (which works better than Teflon tape, unless your pontic space is large, because it tears too easily) doubling back the holder tip through the loop to create a knot. Then I can gently tease the dam through. I make sure I thread it as close to the adjacent tooth as possible and then make sure the dam is flat as it slides under the pontic.

Applying a pontic barrier figure 2

The dam catches the polishing debris and removes the worry that anything is getting trapped in the sutures that you cannot clinically appreciate.

Mary Anne Salcetti, DDS, PC, Spear Visiting Faculty.