Top 5 Composite Tips

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If you prefer videos, watch the youtube video above on our unique top 5 composite tips!

I’m sure we’ve all had enough of getting generic composite tips like bonding procedure or make sure you use a rubber dam. So in this blog, we tried to come up with some unique practical tips to help your composites. Let’s get right into it!

Tip 1: Finding the Margin

So sometimes when you’re replacing a very realistic composite filling, it can be hard to tell where the margin between the composite and enamel is. The best way to differentiate is to etch the whole tooth for 10seconds, rinse and dry. The enamel will be etched and have that frosty look but the composite won’t!

This can be really useful especially when you’re removing anterior class IV composites. Now another way of differentiating is to scratch the surface gently with your probe. The probe will leave a dark silver mark on the composite but not on the enamel.

Scratched composite with a probe

Tip 2: Create Beautiful Transitions

Now most students and NHS dentists may not have the funds to be buying composite brushes. They’re useful for making the composite smooth and to create a nice transition between the composite and the enamel, especially when creating slopes on your cusps. A great simple alternative is to just use your microbrush! Use it in a light motion and brush the composite. You will get smoother margins and can help get rid of tiny bits of excess composite.

Composite brush

Tip 3: Fissure Patterns

So your normal probe can be a great starting point for building fissure patterns but the tip is generally too large and that’s where specific composite instruments like the LM-Arte Fissura can come in handy!

But as always, we wanted to suggest a cheaper alternative. Grab a saliva ejector and use some scissors to cut open the tip. Then put a small k-file in and pre-bend the file. Use this in slow tapping motion to create the fissures. and of course, you only want to be doing this under rubber dam.

LM Arte Fissura

Tip 4: Heated Composite

The next tip is about warming up your composite. Cold or room temperature composite tends to be dry and flaky and really hard to manipulate. Pre-warmed composite is much easier to use, you get fewer air bubbles and studies have shown you actually get less microleakage!

The best way to do this is with a dedicated composite heater but they can be a bit pricey. If you want to warm it without buying anything then you can try putting it on the top of your chair light at the beginning of the appointment, or you could ask your nurse to hold it in their hand for about 5 minutes or if they can rub it between their hands.

If your university or practice has a water bath, you can also use that by putting the composite in a sealed bag or container. And If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money you can buy either a baby bottle warmer or a coffee mug warmer with temperature control. We’ll put a few links in the description of the ones we found!

Coffee mug heater to be used as a makeshift composite heater

Tip 5: Dealing with Tight Contacts

The final tip we have is about dealing with tight contacts after you’ve completed your composite restoration. Sometimes you might find that you’re not able to get floss or your polishing strip through the contact. You can try to put a wooden wedge through the contact and that should push the teeth apart and allow you to put in your polishing strip. If you find that you still can’t get your polishing strip in with a wedge then you can try switching to a metal polishing strip which is stiffer and won’t bend when you apply pressure. Once your strip is in you can file down the composite to hopefully create a better contact.

Wedge to seperate the contact
Metal interproximal strips

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