Message in a Bottle Mailbag: Interproximal reduction, topical products for sensitive teeth

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, answers a question about interproximal reduction, discusses topical products for sensitive teeth, and shares his Super Bowl predictions.

Sep 8th, 2017
Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 12 Dentinal Sensitivity

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, MAGD, answers reader-submitted questions to help you navigate your dental product decisions (and more!). This month, he answers a question about interproximal reduction, discusses topical products for sensitive teeth, and shares his Super Bowl predictions.


Jill from Michigan asked: What is your favorite strip product for adjusting contacts after restorations?


Thanks for writing in, Jill. I assume you are talking about direct restorations. With indirect restorations, I don’t need a strip because I can adjust and polish with an extraoral ceramic adjustment kit before cementing the restoration. If I needed to make adjustments after cementation for whatever reason, the strip would be much more effective on the enamel of the opposing tooth than it would be on the high-strength ceramic of the crown.

With direct restorations, you have a ton of great choices. As far as traditional strip options go, Brasseler’s diamond strips and VersaFlex strips are good, and Komet’s diamond strips are equally as nice. Almost all of the bur companies make traditional strips.

If you want to branch outside of traditional strips, I would consider ContacEZ's strips and Garrison Dental Solutions’ FitStrips, both of which feature little handles to make getting leverage a bit easier. The Garrison FitStrips come with a nice handle for difficult-to-reach posterior contacts. The ContacEZ strips are designed for many different applications—from polishing, to reducing interproximal contacts, to removing flash, to retrieving a piece of stuck cement. ContacEZ is a small family-owned company, which I love. These strips were designed and invented by a practicing dentist, and he and his family still run the company today. I love helping out and purchasing products from people like that. Good luck!



Manny from New Mexico asked: Have you had luck with any topical medicaments for hypersensitivity?


Yes, we have! Thanks for asking. We have had good luck with both Shield Force Plus by Tokuyama and Pain-Free Gel by Parkell. Both have worked well for exposed root and dentin hypersensitivity and have given us long-lasting results for most patients. For some, one application has been enough. For others, we have had to reapply every six months or so. We charge for the procedure, billing CDT code D9910. Some insurances have covered it; others have not. We keep that fee pretty low because it doesn't take much time and patients love the relief. I think we charge $26 per tooth. As long as we get compensated for the cost of the material, plus a little for time and disposables, I am happy. Give those a try and let me know what you think, Manny!



Stan from Arkansas wrote: Who is your Super Bowl pick going into the season?


Wow, Stan. I hadn’t even thought about it yet. Just before I wrote this, New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman ripped his ACL. He's done for the year. That makes it a little tough to go with the Pats because he was so important for them last year. They added Brandin Cooks who is a deep threat, but that over-the-middle possession receiver that Brady loves to use is so vital for them.

I will take the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC, and I have to go with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC. Dak Prescott can take that next leap forward. The suspension forces the Cowboys to rest Zeke Elliott to start the year, leaving him fresh for the playoffs. He runs all over everyone to lead them back to the big game against the Steelers again, nonetheless. How fitting. You heard it here first: Cowboys versus Steelers in Super Bowl LII!

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 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.

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Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, 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. In October 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

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