Dental teflon tape

Dental teflon tape on implant driver

What are the dental teflon tape uses?

Dental teflon tape, also known as PTFE tape, has quite an array of uses in dentistry.

What is dental teflon tape?

The more layman’s term is plumbers tape and the more professional sounding term is PTFE. PTFE stands for polytetrafluoroethylene and if you want to know more about it you can check out Wikipedia.

List of dental teflon tape uses

A list of all of the PTFE tape uses we have seen.

Endodontic uses for PTFE

Endodontic access closure with dental teflon tape and then some sort of filling over it.

There are many materials that we use after we open into the nerve chamber for a root canal. Whether we need to get back in and finish a root canal at a later date or someone is doing a root canal and the patient is going elsewhere for a dental crown, we must be able to easily access the hole. Traditionally cotton was the primary material that dentists would use. Today many are using either the sponge that holds endodontic files or PTFE. The advantages of the dental teflon tape for this use is that it does not wick moisture the way cotton does and it is easy to remove. I personally like the sponge better as it is slightly easier to remove.

PTFE to help the EAL

If the working length hand file is touching metal then the EAL will not work. PTFE can coat the upper portion of the file and protect it. This way the electrical signal does not flow through the metal and give a false reading.

PTFE file protection for length measurement with the EAL.

Using PTFE to protect canals

This can be done when working on a canal and do not want materials or products getting into another canal. Another use is when fixing a perforation or strip perf and need to maintain access to the canal. Furthermore and probably the most useful is protecting the pulp chamber when building up a tooth that has significant decay.

PTFE use in endodonticsEndodontic use for PTFE during chamber access

Dental implant uses for PTFE

PTFE is the ideal material for implant abutment screw head protection.

Protecting the screw head from damage if and when someone in the future must remove the abutment is very important. Screws get loose and things break so we need to get to screws from time to time. Furthermore, without something over the top the cement can get down around the screw making it difficult or impossible to remove safely. The dental teflon tape works great as protection because it does a great job of stopping dental burs from cutting. Wax, gutta percha and cotton are also products that some use for this but none are as clean and easy to work with.

If using angled screws for an angulated screw channel, ASC, then please use blue PTFE. There are many companies that make angulated screws now and all probably will. Blue PTFE will hopefully alert any future dentist to the fact that the screw needs an angulated driver.

Removing a stripped prosthetic screw.

Interesting idea that apparently works well although I have fortunately never had to use this technique. If a prosthetic screw head gets stripped you can add dental teflon tape to the head of the driver and seat the driver and it should allow the head to grab the screw again.

Help to remove a screw when the attachment fit is loose.

I use this from time to time. There are times when my implant driver head does not engage the screw very well and slips. It is probably a sign I need new attachments but thus far this always seems to work well.

Dental teflon tape on an implant driver
Dental teflon tape on an implant driver

Restorative and prosthetic dentistry uses for PTFE

Seating dental veneers is easier with PTFE tape against a natural tooth.

Seating dental veneers can be very stressful. Making sure they are in the right place when you cure and trying to not overdo it with the amount of resin on the teeth next door is technically challenging. Well, teflon tape is so thin and stretchy that it can slide over the teeth next to a veneer and protect them from having any bonding agents get on them.

Anterior composites often benefit from a thin piece of dental teflon tape.

Basically the same idea as above.

PTFE use for dental composite bonding.
Bonding dental composite with PTFE

Removing a tight porcelain crown with PTFE tape around the gripping end.

PTFE tape helps protect the porcelain from scratches that a hemostat will cause. In my hands this does not work very well as my hemostats have very sharp little teeth that seem to still get through to the porcelain.

Using PTFE tape to secure a matrix against a tooth when doing restorative.

Sometimes when using a ring system the wedge leaves small gaps between the metal and the gingiva. This will interfere with your bonding or cause overfill in that area. Using PTFE tape as a customized wedge in those areas is helpful.

Ptfe use in restorative dentistry
PTFE tape closing an IP ring gap for a dental composite.

Using PTFE as retraction cord when doing build ups

This is helpful because the PTFE does not catch and spin out like cord does. It supports the bur to some extent.

PTFE can be used as retraction cord