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Message in a Bottle Mailbag: Universal bonding agents, shade guides

Sept. 12, 2016
Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, responds to a question about switching to a universal bonding agent and shares his advice on choosing a shade guide.

The "Message in a Bottle Mailbag" is a monthly feature of the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator. Each month, Editorial Director Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, answers reader-submitted questions to help you navigate your dental product decisions (and more!). This month, he responds to a question about switching to a universal bonding agent and shares his advice on choosing a shade guide.

Marissa from Philadelphia wrote: I am using Adper Scotchbond Multi-Purpose Adhesive (3M ESPE) for bonding. Should I switch to a new universal bonding agent, like All-Bond Universal (Bisco)?

That is a great question. Knowing when to make a change in your practice’s supplies is always a tough call. Are you having any composite issues? Some of those issues might be sensitivity, debonds, recurrent decay, etc. If there are issues, I would seriously think about switching to a universal bonding agent and modifying the etch protocol. If not, stick with it. "Don’t fix what ain’t broken," as my mother would say. Don't switch just because something new is available, especially if things are currently going well.


QUESTION: Marcus from Kansas asked: My assistants always break off the teeth tabs on my Vita Classic Shade Guide, so every few years, I have to order a new one. Do you have any suggestions?

That happens in my office too, Marcus. My only thought would that it's time to move on from the Vita Classic Shade Guide. It's just not great for anything other than direct composite. For direct composite, you can make your own shade guide using your office's composite material, and it will be more accurate. Think about the most common shade, A2. The reason A2 is the most common shade is because it is actually an average of about four different shades. The Vita Classic shades are not evenly distributed through the spectrum. A2 doesn’t have many shades around it on the spectrum, which is why it's the most common shade. For crown and bridge, use the Vita 3-D Master Shade Guide. It has a perfect distribution of shades, and they are all based on value first, so it's much more accurate. Obviously, composites don’t come in those shades, so use your anterior composite to make your own shade tabs for composite. Too bad you’ll still have the same problem with tabs breaking off the 3-D Master Shade Guide, so I haven’t really solved your problem!

Editor's Note: Do you have a question for Dr. Austin? Is there a product you'd like to see him review? Or would you like to submit your own "Pearl"? Send an email to [email protected]. You might just see it in the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator! If you're not a Product Navigator subscriber, click here to sign up.

August 2016 | Jiffy Universal, sectional matrix systems, Kevin Durant
July 2016 |Loupes, patient education app, a trip to Spain
June 2016 | Lip and cheek retractors, temporary cement, writing

Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, is an editorial director for Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator, an e-newsletter from DentistryIQ and Dental Economics. He also writes the "Pearls for Your Practice" column in Dental Economics. After graduating from the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School, Dr. Austin associated for several years. During October of 2009, he opened a solo general practice in a suburban area of San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Austin is involved in all levels of organized dentistry and can be reached at [email protected].

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