Keeping a tooth isolated during an adhesive process is one of the greatest challenges. Part of this process if you are using a total etch technique is suctioning off the etchant and then rinsing. Sounds reasonably simple, but doing this without the patient needing to swallow, moving their tongue to protect the back of their mouth and gagging is the real issue. For years I have coached dentists to have their assistant place the high volume suction tip directly over the etchant to pull as much of it off the tooth as possible before rinsing. This part of the technique is essential as the etchant is an acid, and when it hits the tongue, saliva begins to flow, and now the field is wet, and the patient has an urge tot swallow. I have used this technique for years and swear by it, until today.
My last patient of the day was a six-year-old and we are charged with completing sealants on all four six year molars. Definitely a two person procedure, so my assitant had everything set up and then we began. As I was ready for her to suction the etchant gel, I look over and she has a surgical high volume disposable suction tip. Carefully to removes every stitch of the blue gel. Then we follow with a saliva ejector in the back corner of the mouth while I rinse and dry.
It was by far the smoothest way I have ever suctioned off the gel, was able to not have any of the acid trigger salivation or a sour taste and swallowing reflex. The sealants went on smoothly, and I will be having the room set up with one of the disposable surgical suction tips any time we have etchant gel out as part of the procedure.