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Message in a Bottle Mailbag: Gutta percha removal and the single-cone technique, loupes, Super Bowl predictions

Oct. 10, 2016
Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD, responds to a question about gutta percha removal when using the single-cone technique, recommends his favorite loupes, and shares his Super Bowl predictions.

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 gutta percha removal when using the single-cone technique, recommends his favorite loupes, and shares his Super Bowl predictions.

QUESTION: Jim from Sacramento wrote: I ordered some BioRoot RCS (Septodont) based on your last "Pearls" article, and I have a quick question. I like the single-cone technique, but how do you remove the rest of the gutta percha cone above the orifice?

Thanks for writing in, Jim. That's a good question. The best way to do it is with a gutta percha heater. I use the SybronEndo Touch 'n Heat (Kerr). It works really well, and it's quick and easy.

One caveat: You have to be really careful around the patient's lips and cheeks. The heater part gets hot (obviously), and it could burn the patient if you aren’t careful. Of course, that is true with any heat source that you put in the mouth.

I think searing off the gutta percha is by far the most superior method of removal. Trying to nick it off with a bur and handpiece doesn't work well for me, whereas heat takes it off cleanly and easily. Check out a Touch 'n Heat—it's a pretty affordable piece of equipment.


Holly from Austin wrote: I saw a picture posted on Facebook of all the loupes you have. Which are your favorite?

Good question, Holly. I think loupes are really important and often overlooked. We use them all day, every day. Why wouldn’t you invest in a good set? Or maybe even more than one? Oftentimes, we end up buying a set of loupes in dental school and then we don't think about it for 15 years . . . until we start to get back or neck problems. I say start earlier. It’s never too soon to be thinking about your next set of loupes.

I have a three favorites, as of today. If flexibility is your focus, then Orascoptic's EyeZoom loupes are awesome. They can go from 3x to 4x to 5x magnification with a simple turn of the eyepieces. However, they are a bit heavy and have a steep declination angle, so if you have back or neck issues, they may not be the best choice.

If ergonomics is key for you, then consider SurgiTel. The 4.5x Expanded Field (Prism) loupes are absolutely spectacular. The declination angle is ideal. These must be used on a heavy-duty frame, so if you want loupes that are more lightweight, check out the SurgiTel 3.5x (Prism) loupes on the Oakley Half Jacket frames. These are so comfortable, and the declination angle is as great as the 4.5x’s. I have a couple of new sets on the way from other companies, so check back in a few months.


QUESTION: Landon from Portland asked: Are you ready for football season? What's your preseason Super Bowl pick?

You better believe I am ready for football season! I started off by promptly losing in all four of my fantasy leagues during the first week of the season, so I guess maybe I wasn’t all that ready. There is nothing better than the first month of NFL Sundays though. I have become such a fan of the NFL RedZone channel that I am not sure that I could watch football any other way. There's constant action and every touchdown from every game. The channel is a billion-dollar idea, and I absolutely love it.

As far as my early Super Bowl pick goes, I will take the Patriots versus the Packers. This seems like the Super Bowl that should have happened at some point, but it never has—kind of like the Bills versus the 49ers during the early '90s. This year, it happens. And we get two weeks of "Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers" talk shoved down our throats. I will be totally OK with that because the presence of Aaron Rodgers means two weeks of Olivia Munn talk. I am down with that.

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.

September 2016 | Universal bonding agents, shade guides
August 2016 |
Jiffy Universal, sectional matrix systems, Kevin Durant
July 2016 |Loupes, patient education app, a trip to Spain

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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