Team Corner

July 16, 2015

Clinical Problem Solvers for the Dental Assistant

Every now and then you run into a situation that’s not really a huge problem but you need a quick solution.

Here are a few problem solvers that you can try just when the need arises.

Taking an alginate impression

Sometimes when you’re taking an impression, you keep missing the distal part of the last tooth but you know the tray is the right size or you are limited in the size of the tray due to a strong gag reflex.   Try using 1 or 2 rows of rope wax to extend the trays length. Using this method, you can also build the wax upward to prevent alginate flowing beyond the tray which will also benefit a patient with a gag reflex.

Regarding patients with strong gag reflexes: I always keep salt on hand. Patients can either sprinkle a pinch on their tongue or swish with salt water prior to the impression, and it limits their gag impulse. This can be a life saver!

Pouring up an impression

If the stone material is a little too runny, instead of adding more powder, a quick trick is to take a paper towel, pour the stone material on one half it, fold the towel over and pat the stone.  This will remove some of the water and make it a more desirable consistency.

(This is something to do in a pinch; ideally you should always use the right water/powder ratio)

Fast-set models

If you need a model to set rapidly and don’t have or can’t use the Snap Stone, you can make something called Slurry Water for a faster set.  All you do is trim another model, and save the water that runs off in the sink.  Use this water to pour up your model and it will set in about 10-15 minutes.  You can store the water for future use should the need arise.

(Just make sure to shake it well first)

Cleaning X-ray Aprons (keeping clean)

During an endodontic procedure or implant procedures, it is often necessary to take a radiograph. Instead of removing a dirty patient napkin, simply fold it upwards revealing the clean side. The apron will not contact the side that has been exposed during treatment.

If you have an apron with a soft material such as corduroy on the back, and it is necessary to disinfect that portion, utilize a spray indicated for fabrics such as Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfectant Cleaner in the spray bottle.