Lee Ann Brady, DMD
Using snap-on polishing discs to complete the final contouring, smoothing, and polishing of direct composites is a standard protocol in most restorative practices today. The flexibility of the discs and our ability to bend and curve them allows natural anatomical tooth shapes to be created more precisely than with a bur. This flexibility enables us to shape the facial and lingual embrasure form on a direct composite in the mouth.
When fabricating bis-acryl provisionals indirectly, the thinness of the disc in combination with this flexibility is a key factor in fashioning a natural emergence profile, gingival embrasure form, and incisal edge shape.
The use of a bevel on the preparation margin helps to create beautiful direct composites that disappear visually. This results in a transition zone where the margin is not visible. With this type of preparation, it is imperative to finish the composite to an almost infinite margin, where it is extremely thin, and snap-on discs are the perfect tool.
Historically, one limiting factor of snap-on discs has been that even the most abrasive ones were unable to remove large amounts of excess composite efficiently and did not work on harder surfaces such as ceramics or zirconia. Additionally, the surface coating would often rub off or become clogged, requiring multiple discs of the same abrasiveness to complete a procedure.
VersaFlex™ discs (Brasseler USA) specifically address these limitations. They are the only diamond impregnated polishing discs available today. This difference, in addition to their availability in coarse and super coarse, allows them to be used on any material, including ceramic, IPS e.max, metal, and zirconia.
Today, when performing an equilibration or reshaping anterior teeth to correct chipped incisal edges, I use the coarse VersaFlex disc. The incisal edge pitch is easy to form with the flat side of the disc, using light pressure so it stays flat. The facial and lingual bevels can then be added, as well as incisal embrasures, using the same disc.
This same process can be utilized for indirect ceramic and IPS e.max restorations, which allows me to seat the case without having to return it to the lab. With the VersaFlex discs, I can cut through excess composite more efficiently and use fewer discs during each procedure.
When using the discs to work inside the mouth, the companion mylar strips are instrumental in helping me shape the gingival embrasure form. The VersaFlex discs have allowed me to provide my patients with beautiful direct and indirect composite restorations that possess superior esthetics.
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Lee Ann Brady, DMD, maintains a private practice in Glendale, Arizona, and is a nationally recognized educator, lecturer, writer, and practitioner.