Miscellaneous instruments

Protecting the gingiva during tooth preparation is essential. This task can be done by placing cord or using an instrument to retract the gingiva. While cord definitely requires more time to place, it doesn't require much attention once it is in the sulcus (except if you snag it during tooth preparation) and it allows you to use both hands during preparation. In addition, cord can retract proximal gingiva, which is difficult to access with these instruments.

On the other hand, instruments such as those in this section that are designed for this purpose are very convenient and can retract tissue quickly, which is not only an advantage during tooth preparation but can also come in handy to access subgingival tooth structure during exams. However, they still take one hand away from you during tooth preparation. And they make you concentrate on two things at once: refining your margins and keeping the instrument in proper position. If you do choose to use of these instruments, be sure to have a firm pivot on the tooth as opposed to placing all the pressure against the tissue, which can cause traumatic injuries.

Note: Some evaluators chose to use these instruments in conjunction with cord, especially when placing the restorative material. In this manner, the instrument can actually prevent the material from attaching to the cord

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