Brassler ET Flex Interproximal Finishing and Contouring Strips
Every once in a while, a dental company creates a perfect product. The ET Flex finishing and contouring strips are one of them, in my opinion.
Oftentimes, I find using traditional finishing strips a bit cumbersome in the mouth. Gripping the strip with wet gloves is made harder when it’s slippery along with a tight contact resisting any attempt at movement. Furthermore, the long ends of the traditional strips often poke at the patient’s tongue or cheeks. Sometimes the sharp edge of the strips will cut a lip or cheek. I’m always trying to be careful about watching where the long ends of the strips are, which makes focusing on the task at hand all the more difficult.
I have seen other products that mount short strips in a holder. One issue with that is that the strip is thick and / or rigid, so there’s no flexibility in the strip. Sometimes we want the finishing strip to be taut. Sometimes we want a finishing strip to be flexible. With traditional long strips or even the short ones on a handle by other companies, you really can’t have both. With Brasseler’s ET Flex strips, you can. You can make them taut, and you can make them flexible.
Flexible or stiff… Whatever you need… with one hand!
Sometimes we need strips to be flexible to adapt to the curvature of the teeth. Or we may need it taut to work the strip through a tight contact. With ET Flex strips, that’s easy to do… with one hand! It’s a matter of where you squeeze or grip the handle. By squeezing the handle down by the strip itself (below the “crossbar”), the strip becomes flexible and slack. If you grip or squeeze the handle near the top, away from the strip (above the “crossbar”), it becomes straight and taut. With a single hand you can adjust the flexibility of the strip while simultaneously using it intraorally. Genius! (See video demonstration at the bottom of this post.)
Brasseler’s list of uses for ET Flex strips:
✓ Orthodontics: IPR / Tooth Slenderizing
✓ Composite Restorations: Contouring/Finishing all Interproximal Surfaces
✓ Crown & Bridge Restorations: Cement Removal and Clean-Up Following Cementation
No more “owies.”
One of my favorite items from Brasseler over the years is their “interproximal saw.” It’s the top strip in the photo of the traditional strips above. After bonding multiple (or even single) porcelain restorations, sometimes some stubborn interproximal cured resin cement that will NOT come out easily with scalers or even rotary instruments. The “interproximal saw” is a smooth metal serrated strip (no abrasives on the sides) that makes removing that cement EASY. But, like other traditional long strips, it can poke and cut, if you’re not careful. It’s especially cumbersome when being used in the posterior. The good news is that Brasseler included a proximal saw in the ET Flex kit!
By the way, I don’t call it the “interproximal saw” in front of patients. Instead I ask my assistant for the “separator.” 🙂 Nobody want’s their dentist to use a SAW on them!
It’s all about systems.
The ET Flex system comes with a nifty organizer / autoclavable block. The strip handles are color-coded according to the grit. And, the aluminum organizer block is laser-engraved to help keep the strips sorted. The strips come in the following flavors:
- Black – serrated (interproximal saw, with smooth sides – no abrasive)
- Grey – Extra Coarse
- Green – Coarse
- Blue – Medium
- Red – Fine
- Yellow – Extra fine
In each grit, the system includes a single-sided strips and double-sided strips.
There are also narrow versions of ET Flex strips with a non-coated “gateway” in the middle to make passing through the contact easier and without abrading the contact. Then you can slip beneath the contact and polish cervical to the contact with the abrasive surfaces on each side of the “gateway.”
The single-side abrasive is useful for finishing composite restorations on one side while not affecting the adjacent tooth.
The double-sided strips (which come in all the grits) are particularly well-suited for IPR (interproximal reduction) for Six Month Smiles short term orthodontic cases. For those doing ortho, the strips range in thickness from 0.15-mm (fine) to 0.40-mm (extra coarse). I really like this product for IPR!
Interproximal Crown and Veneer Cement Removal!
And, as I mentioned before, you’ll LOVE the serrated (saw) strip for that rock-hard interproximal cement that can otherwise drive you crazy and make the patient uncomfortable. It works easily and quickly to break up that pesky cement. It makes simultaneous bonding of multiple veneers and crowns worry-free.
When I deliver a case of multiple bonded porcelain restorations like crowns and veneers, I cement the all simultaneously – like I learned from Dr. Larry Rosenthal. With the light-cured cements, we have all the working time we want. I carefully clean up the unset cement as much as possible before curing. But, sometimes circumstances (like an unexpected bleeder) forces me to start curing sooner than planned. Since I discovered the serrated strip by Brasseler, I don’t worry at all over having cement cured between teeth / restorations. The serrated strip makes it very easy to get out later.
If you get cement set up between teeth, “no worries, mate!” The serrated ET Flex will make it go away, “like buttah!”
I am really very impressed with the ET Flex system. It fits perfectly into the Dental Warrior meme of relatively inexpensive products that make our daily dental lives SO much easier, more productive, more effective, and more efficient. The assorted kit (1 of each strip) that comes with the autoclavable block (pictured above) runs $114.50. Individual ET Flex strips cost $7.10 each (sold in packs of 10). Click on Brasseler’s webpage about the ET Flex system to learn more.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent a complimentary sample of this product to test and review. I have no financial interest in this product. My recommendation is sincere and based on my own experience. I will be buying more!