With the explosion of polishers embedded with diamond particles, polishing instruments are virtually putting polishing pastes on the endangered list. These products are used to smooth and/or polish composite. Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and firmnesses, they allow us to create high shines on our restorations without the splatter and mess of pastes.
However, the effect of rigid rubber instruments on freshly placed and bonded composite has not been properly investigated. Therefore, synthetic brushes impregnated with various types of particles have become popular, especially for posterior occlusal surfaces.
A Class I packable composite was polished with all the products in this category. The resulting gloss was compared to that of a natural tooth with a typical enamel glossy surface. The results are listed in each product's commentary.
Please note that, unlike rubber polishers, with the brushes, you need to start with a relatively smooth surface and use substantial pressure to get them to perform optimally. This pressure tends to wear down the instrument rather quickly. One evaluator felt they have a tendency to scratch microfills, while another noted the composite surface needs to be smooth or they will not polish well.
Although they can be autoclaved, their durability could not be considered very good — one evaluator reported that they started to change color after a few cycles and another found they disintegrate fairly quickly.
Nevertheless, brushes allow unmatched access to hard-to-reach occlusal areas and other "nooks and crannies". They are also quite useful for polishing the bis-acryl composite provisional materials and do not produce any annoying residue on the teeth, as do many types of rubber polishers, although the bristles tend to come loose during use and fly off throughout the mouth.