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Message in a Bottle Mailbag: Lip and cheek retractors, temporary cement, writing

June 3, 2016
Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, offers tips on learning to use Ivoclar Vivadent's OptraGate lip and cheek retractors, recommends a temporary cement, and discusses balancing writing with seeing patients.

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 offers tips on learning to use Ivoclar Vivadent's OptraGate lip and cheek retractors, recommends a temporary cement, and discusses balancing writing with seeing patients.

QUESTION: Bruce from Georgia wrote: I bought some OptraGate lip and cheek retractors a while back and tried using them, but I had trouble getting them in. Is it just me?

Thanks for the great question, Bruce. No, it's not just you. It does take a little practice to become proficient at putting in an OptraGate. After struggling with it a few times, I broke down and read the instructions. That helped some. After that, I opened one for myself, and I put it in and took it out a few times. That helped me figure it out. Also, be sure that you have the right size selected. If you pick one that is too big, it just won't stay in. Don’t get discouraged, practice with them, and in no time, you’ll be able to pop one in and out on camera like me.


Gabriel from Arizona wrote: I can’t find a temporary cement I love. I’ve switched probably five times, but I've never landed on one that has really worked. What do you use?

Good question, Gabriel. Temporary cement is one of those things that you never notice until it isn’t working. You might never even think twice about it . . . until three temps come off within a couple of days. Then, it's suddenly at the front of your mind. We ask for a lot from temporary cement. We want it to be tenacious and strong so the provisional doesn’t come off—but not too strong. I want it to come off the second I touch it with hemostats. It needs to be easy to clean and easy to visualize, as well.

For the past few years, I have been using Cling2 temporary cement by Clinician’s Choice. Clinician’s Choice used to offer direct sales, but its products are now sold exclusively through Henry Schein. I think Cling2 works great. It's tenacious but not to the extent that I need to cut off temps. I rarely see sensitivity or provisionals that come off. If you’re having issues, try Cling2. I think you will like it.


QUESTION: Robert A. from Utah wrote: Do you see patients full-time? If so, when do you write your articles?

Thanks for writing in, Robert. Yeah, I see patients full-time. If I am out of the office, it's because I am lecturing. I usually get to the office early in the morning to either write or do administrative tasks for my practice. It usually doesn’t take me long to do my regular articles. It's hard for me to understand how this could be done without seeing patients—I mean, I actually need to use these products to be able to write about them!

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.MORE MAILBAGSMay 2016 | Using a stump shade guide, transitioning to digital impressions, TV shows
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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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