The solution to subgingival overhangs

Overhanging margins, left after the placement of an amalgam or composite, are alarmingly common. A 2009 research article on the subject of overhangs suggested that it is possible that an estimated 8 million new amalgam overhangs were being made annually(1). For composites, the news is not much better; a 2012 study found that, of all the matrix types and placement techniques tested for Class II composites, "None...could completely prevent marginal overhang."(2)

Because overhangs are so closely linked to the failure of their corresponding restorations, it is imperative to have a reliable method for safely and effectively removing them. This is especially true of overhangs on proximal margins, as they are often hardest to reach without damaging soft tissue or the surrounding dentition.

It was for this purpose that I developed the ContacEZ Subgingival Strip System. Designed to completely remove overhangs left in the interproximal space without scratching the enamel on adjacent teeth, damaging the restoration, or cutting lips or gums, the Subgingival Strips are a great addition to any doctor's toolkit when it comes to placing a Class II.

Fig. 1  The unique narrow strip design of the Subgingival Strips makes it easier to access the subgingival area without damaging soft tissues, while the blank central gateway on the Gold Narrow Strip allows for safe and easy insertion into the interproximal space.

Fig. 1 The unique narrow strip design of the Subgingival Strips makes it easier to access the subgingival area without damaging soft tissues, while the blank central gateway on the Gold Narrow Strip allows for safe and easy insertion into the interproximal space.

Fig. 2  After removing the overhang, the ultra-fine diamond coating of the Copper Narrow Strip is perfect for polishing the area back to a natural finish.

Fig. 2 After removing the overhang, the ultra-fine diamond coating of the Copper Narrow Strip is perfect for polishing the area back to a natural finish.

  1. D. C. N. Chan and A. K-H. Chung (2009) Management of Idiopathic Subgingival Amalgam Hypertrophy-The Common Amalgam Overhang. Operative Dentistry: November 2009, Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 753-758.

  2. Bas AC Loomans, Niek JM Opdam, F Joost M Roeters, and Marie-Charlotte DNJM Huysmans (2012) Proximal Marginal Overhang of Composite Restorations in Relation to Placement Technique of Separation Rings. Operative Dentistry: January/February 2012, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 21-27.