Applying various agents to teeth requires items that are light in weight, inexpensive, disposable, and reasonably durable. There are basically two choices for applying agents to teeth: brushes and applicator tips.
Applicator tips consist of nonlinting, very short, fine, synthetic fibers mounted on a plastic shaft that doubles as a handle. These simple instruments can be used instead of disposable brushes to apply adhesives, etchants, remoisten teeth prior to adhesive procedures, etc. They can sometimes be bent into angles that are not possible with brushes. However, a brush may allow you to more thoroughly apply an adhesive to a preparation margin, for example, when a matrix band in place restricts access.
Criteria for Applicator Tips
Amount of tufts Relates to how much they can absorb. This was decided by viewing their heads under 3.5x magnification.
Durability of tufts Lets you know if the small fibers will stay attached to the end of the shank or come off during use. Each applicator was used for 15 seconds to apply an etchant, an adhesive, and a cavity disinfectant to a Class II preparation in an extracted tooth.
Length of handle Some may be too short to properly control, while overly long ones take up more room.
Bending characteristics Determine how easily they bend and whether they will stay bent or rebound. Each product was also bent into several configurations, each corresponding to a clinical situation.
Availability of colors Gives you the opportunity to assign different colors for different materials. For example, blue would always be etchant, red would be adhesive, etc.
Dispensing method A convenience factor - is it easy to get one when you need one?