I find it challenging to place sectional matrix bands, so much so that sometimes I just reach for a good old fashioned toffelmire, even though I know that adaptation and reproducing anatomic form is superior with the sectional. There are two pieces that frustrate me. The first one is how to hold on to those little pieces of metal, and secondly getting them in the right place and feeling like I have good control during placement.
I had the opportunity to watch my dental partner place a sectional matrix today, and it was eye opening. He reached for a pair of cotton pliers which are standard issue on our tray set-ups. He kept looking right past them, and then requested a pair of the straight tip cotton pliers. He explained that they grip better and make it easier to hold the sectional matrices, this was my first learning moment. Then I watched as he bent the corner of the matrix, explaining that it can be difficult to place the matrix. It is difficult to get your hand at the correct angle in order to place it in the contact, so he “dog ear’s” the corner of the matrix and creates a handle that allows him to grip it firmly, and place without contorting his wrist.
As it worked out I had a class two composite on my schedule later and got to try out my new learning. Both tips work perfectly, and made all the difference in using a sectional matrix band. One of the things I value everyday is the little things we can learn from watching each other work.