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Effects of Polishing on Restorations

With the multitude of restorative options available, dental hygienists need to be knowledgeable about the qualities of each restorative material in order to help guide patients on these decisions. Dental technology has improved the quality of tooth-colored restorations. How well versed are you in the effects of polishing on restorations?

Effects of Polishing on Restorations

With the multitude of restorative options available, dental hygienists need to be knowledgeable about the qualities of each restorative material in order to help guide patients on these decisions. Dental technology has improved the quality of tooth-colored restorations. How well versed are you in the effects of polishing on restorations?

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Material Selection

Material selection focuses on: the extent of tooth destruction and structural replacement; preservation of existing tooth structure; handling of the material/need for specialized equipment; restoration longevity and durability; cost; esthetics; and patient preference. Restorations need to provide high-quality results while also meeting patient expectations.

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Polishing Tools

Polishing kits include various tools, such as diamond burs, abrasive rubber cups, felt wheels, and diamond polishing pastes. For glazed or polished porcelain, diamond-polishing pastes are available in coarse, medium, and fine grit. Diamond pastes contain oxides such as anatase, corundum, zinc oxide, and pumice. Using a combination of different pastes can improve the surface finish.

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Prevent Misuse

Dental hygienists need to be knowledgeable about the various polishing agents used to maintain the integrity of tooth-colored restorations. The misuse of instruments or coarse abrasives will compromise the restoration’s surface quality.

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Residual Roughness

Medium and coarse polishing pastes are effective in removing stain; however, their use can result in residual roughness. Hence, stain and calculus retention may occur with inappropriate paste selection. Research shows that oral hygiene methods applied by the patient or the dental hygienist can incur surface damage and result in increased deposit accumulation.

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Ongoing Maintenance

The care and maintenance of esthetic restorations should be ongoing and they may need repolishing. Occlusal and interproximal adjustments are required to obtain proper anatomical conformity. Often these adjustments are not followed by new glazing procedures, which may cause ceramic roughness and excessive wear on the opposing dentition.

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Overcome Obstacles

Anatomical obstacles can also lead to improper adjustment techniques. Incorrect adaption of finishing tools may create microscopic alterations, weakening the restorative surface and predisposing it to subsequent fractures. Ultimately, a smooth surface finish is recommended, which can be accomplished with different polishing systems.

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