Frequently Asked Questions

Restorative FAQ

What is the ContacEZ Restorative Strip System?

The ContacEZ Restorative Strip System is an innovative new precision dental strip system and technique designed to achieve ideal proximal contact adjustment and complete marginal seating of crowns, veneers, inlays/onlays, and composite fillings for immediate patient comfort and functionality. It also saves chair time and frustration for dentists.

What is Interproximal Relief (IR)*?

In natural dentition, there is microscopic clearance (88% of proximal contacts) or passive contact between the teeth when the mouth is in a resting position. In proximal contact adjustment, it is important that dentists restore microscopic clearance or passive contact to relieve pressure between proximal contact surfaces of direct or indirect restorations and the adjacent teeth. The relief of pressure in the interproximal space is referred to as Interproximal Relief (IR). By restoring IR, complete marginal seating of the restoration is achieved, and the elevation of the occlusion of adjacent teeth is prevented. IR enhances patient comfort and restores functionality immediately after definitive cementation of the restoration. Use of the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip restores IR consistently and accurately with minimum time and effort. (The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, “A Proximal Contact Adjustment and Interproximal Relief Method” Vol. 97, No. 4, by DS Kim,DDS & KW Suh,DDS

What would happen if IR were not achieved when the restoration is seated?

If the restoration is improperly seated interproximal relief will not be restored and as a result, extra heavy interproximal pressure and incomplete marginal seating may exist. A wedging reaction of the restoration will cause a change of the occlusion for the entire mouth and the patient will feel discomfort.

What will the ContacEZ Restorative Strip System do for new crowns?

  • Simplify ideal proximal contact adjustment to achieve complete marginal seating of crowns.
  • Minimize the need for occlusal adjustment.
  • Avert adjacent teeth extrusion due to excessive interproximal pressure.
  • Enhance patient comfort immediately after final cementation of direct or indirect restorations.
  • Reduce chair time.
  • Eliminate the need to use articulating films.
  • Eliminate the need to hold small restorations on your fingers and the use of rotary instruments.
  • Reduce the tedium of taking small crowns and inlays/onlays in and out of the patient's mouth.
  • Offer better tactile control in a compact, single-handed see-through design.
  • Grant easy access to tight anterior or posterior spaces.

Are ContacEZ Dental Strips autoclavable?

Yes. ContacEZ Dental Strips autoclavable and multi-usable, however, they are not permanent tools. The manufacturer recommendation is to steam heat autoclave at 270°F for 10 minutes at 30 psi maximum, and to use each strip only 3-5 times for maximum efficiency. ContacEZ strips are made of stainless steel with high-quality diamond powder, housed in a medical grade plastic casing with a melting point of 286°F according to our Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). All strips should be sterilized prior to the first use and again between each reuse. With a properly set and properly functioning autoclave, ContacEZ strips should never melt; if issues arise, please first check your autoclave settings.

For best sterilization practices, please refer to our Cleaning and Sterilzation Instructions.

Do you have a recommendation for how many times you can sterilize and reuse before throwing out a strip?

For maximum efficiency and functionality, ContacEZ recommends using each strip only 3-5 times before disposal. Depending on your particular usage style, you may be able to use the strips more or less than the recommendation. You can, then, dispose of the strip with normal waste products.

For best sterilization practices, please refer to our Cleaning and Sterilzation Instructions.

How should I clean strips by hand?

For best sterilization practices, please refer to our Cleaning and Sterilzation Instructions.

Should I clean ContacEZ Strips with disinfectant solution before autoclaving?

No. ContacEZ Strips should be rinsed either by hand or in an ultrasonic cleaner, and then sterilized in a steam heat autoclave (not dry heat). Chemical disinfectant solutions, including solutions containing chlorine bleach, can damage the polycarbonate bonds in the plastic housing, and should be avoided. If chemical disinfectant solutions are used, be sure to rinse the strips thoroughly prior to autoclaving, or deformation/breakage of the plastic housing can occur.

Why are ContacEZ Dental Strips flexible instead of rigid?

In the inventor's observation, most proximal contact surfaces curve along the movement of the mandibles. ContacEZ Dental Strips were designed with built-in flexibility to follow those curves, flexing to naturally contour the restoration and the proximal contact surface of adjacent teeth. These flexible strips are also useful for contouring the proximal surfaces of composite fillings and inlays/onlays.

What should I do if the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip cannot access the interproximal space between the crown and the adjacent teeth?

When overly tight contacts are present, the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip may have difficulty accessing the interproximal space. Dislodge the crown and insert the ContacEZ Diamond Dental Strip into the interproximal space. Place the crown back on the abutment and hold it in place, being careful not to apply any downward pressure. Begin to pass the strip buccolingually. (Because of the diamond particles' orientation the strip will initially pass in only one direction but will eventually pass back and forth buccolingually.)

What should I do if the Black Diamond Strip becomes stuck and will not move?

First, release the crown from the prepared tooth and allow the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip to remain in place, then place the crown back on the abutment lightly. Do not press down on the crown but hold it in position. Now start to pass the Black Diamond Strip buccolingually in one direction. Because of the orientation of the diamond particles the Black Diamond Strip will pass in only one direction when the proximal contact of the crown is overly tight to the adjacent teeth. When you are able to pass it back and forth easily you can begin to apply gentle pressure on the crown. Do not use vertical pressure on the strip as this might cause it to crumple. Pass it back and forth gently.

Do ContacEZ Dental Strips work with gold inlays/onlays?

Yes, ContacEZ strips work with gold inlays/onlays. ContacEZ diamond strips work with all dental restorative materials including gold, porcelain, composite, amalgam, lava, Zirconia, etc.

Can ContacEZ strips adjust Zirconia crowns?

Yes. ContacEZ Strips can be used for Zirconia crowns the same as Porcelain crowns.

I have tried various methods for determining which contact is the offending one on a crown. What do you recommend?

Here is a simple way to determine which contact is the offending one on a crown:

  1. Ask your dental lab not to scrape the proximal contact surfaces of the adjacent teeth on the working model. If scraping is required, it should be less than 0.10mm in order to retain natural contours and spacing between the restoration and the adjacent teeth. (The ContacEZ Lab Strip System helps dental labs accurately restore appropriate proximal contacts of crowns on stone models. We suggest you recommend this system to your lab in order to foster an easier relationship regarding proximal contacts between the lab and the dental office.)
  2. Ideally, when the crown arrives from your dental lab, it should fit to the prepared abutment with near complete marginal seating but with slight pressure to adjacent teeth.
  3. Dislodge the crown from the abutment and insert the ContacEZ Diamond Dental Strip into the interproximal space with the abrasive side facing the crown. Place the crown but don’t press down on the crown yet. Pass the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip buccolingually a few times, making sure not to press down on the strip.
  4. Perform Step (3) on both mesial and distal sides of the crown. The side with more pressure on the strip is the offending side.
  5. On the offending side of the crown, pass the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip 6 times buccolingually. Repeat (3), (4) and (5) until light pressure is equal on both sides and proximal contact adjustment is done.
  6. The crown now has an ideal proximal contact and is ready for definitive cementation. Do not use a rotary polishing instrument at this time as you will open the contact. Instead, after cementation, you can now use the ContacEZ Gray Final Polishing Strip to confirm interproximal relief and restore a natural finish. Complete marginal seating is achieved.

Is it correct to assume that the side with the most closed margin has overly tight contact during crown seating?

Yes. If the crown is far off from the abutment due to massive scraping by the dental lab on the contact surfaces of adjacent teeth, the overly tight contact is on the side of the crown margin closer to the prepared surface of the abutment. This occurs because the crown is pushed towards the other side when you place the crown vertically onto the abutment. For more information, please see Crown Seating and Case Report #29.

Can the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip be used for cement removal after crown cementation?

No. The ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip is designed to release pressure in the interproximal space and to restore Interproximal Relief prior to definitive crown cementation, not to remove cement. The ContacEZ White Serrated Strip and the ContacEZ Blue Serrated Strip are designed to cut and clean-out excessive cement in the interproximal space.

The ContacEZ White Serrated Strip sometimes crumples when it is used to remove crown cement. What can I do?

Designed not to open the contact despite its serrated edge, the ContacEZ White Serrated Strip (The Gentle Saw) is delicate and ultra-thin (0.035mm, Double-Serrated). It may occasionally crumple when faced with excessive cement or if forced into a vertical motion. Never press down, but always pass them back and forth buccolingually. If there is massive excess resin cement in the interproximal area, we recommend the ContacEZ Blue Serrated Strip - The Dental Saw (0.065mm, Double-Serrated), which was designed for more rigorous cutting and cleaning.

Does the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip cause food impaction issues?

No. If Interproximal Relief is achieved using the ContacEZ Black Diamond Strip, there will be no food impaction. The microscopic clearance between the restoration and the adjacent teeth is so minute that ground food particles cannot pass through. Food impaction is prevented by properly deflecting contours and the occlusal anatomy of the teeth.

Which strip should be used to restore a natural finish?

The ContacEZ Gray Final Polishing Strip, (0.05mm, Single-Sided, Ultra-Fine Diamond) is the proximal surface polisher that will restore a natural finish.

Can I use Clear Stone Strip on the working stone model?

Yes, it is recommended to use the Clear Stone Strip on the working stone model that comes from your lab, which was used to fabricate the crown. If you find that the crown does not fit into the space between two adjacent teeth to fit to the prepped abutment, or that the proximal contact is too tight, place the crown back on the working stone model and adjust the tight contact using Clear Stone Strip.

How can I break cement in proximal contacts with veneers?

Use the White and Blue Strips from the ContacEZ Veneer Kit.

  1. Without cement: adjust proximal contacts using the Black Strip until the strip passes with light friction.
  2. With cement, before light curing: remove cement from proximal contacts using the White Strip while cement is still soft.
  3. After light curing: cut through the remaining cement using the Blue Strip.
  4. Polish and confirm interproximal relief using the Gray Strip.

I need to cut super tight contacts on just-completed amalgams; what strip should I use?

Use the White Serrated Strip to cut through the tight contact created by the amalgam. Use a horizontal sawing motion until the White Strip passes through the contact, then use the Orange Diamond Strip to adjust the tight contact to natural contacts.

I am to cut super tight contacts on just completed contacts on bonding, what strip should I use?

Use the Blue Serrated Strip to cut through the bonding, and then use the Gray Final Polishing Strip to contour and polish the contact surface to natural contact.

What causes my Orange Serrated Diamond Strips to break, and how can I make sure they last longer?

Orange Strips are made of very thin metal strips, similar to shim stock, that is coated with ultra-fine diamond particles; they are exceptionally useful for contouring and adjusting proximal contacts of restorations perfectly. Designed to be used with gentle horizontal movement, they are naturally fragile and easily breakable when they are used vertically or with significant force. The serration of the Orange Strip is useful for easily penetrating into the tight proximal contacts to initiate adjustment of the proximal contact, but it can also lead to tearing when it is used with excessive force.

ContacEZ strips are disposable, but because they are autoclavable, they can be used multiple times until they break or diamond particles are worn off. Once you have some experience with using these strips, you can readily determine the optimal amounts of force to use and truly enjoy them to achieve good results.

Why don't ContacEZ strips have a long, detachable handle?

For molars, a long handle does not allow easy or practical access. For anterior teeth, long handles offer no accurate or tactile control over the blade.

What do you recommend for the separation of two teeth prior to the placement of a matrix for a filling?

Use the White Serrated Strip to explore the separation between two teeth. The White Serrated Strip is exceptionally thin and has no diamond grit, allowing it to penetrate into any established interproximal space. The Gray Final Polishing Strip or Black Diamond Strip can then be used to further separate if necessary or to remove biofilm and refresh the proximal surfaces for better bonding of composites.

Interproximal Reduction FAQ

Do you have a solution to help initiate IPR if the contact is too tight?

If the contact is too tight, use the Yellow IPR Starter to initiate IPR. The Yellow Starter is ultra-thin, and is able to get in to any proximal contact.

How do ContacEZ IPR Strips avoid removing excess enamel?

During manual reproximation with diamond strips, a large part of the reduction force comes from the pressure of the teeth pressing against the diamond powder on the strip. As the space between the teeth is increased, the pressure on the strip decreases, so the rate of reduction diminishes dramatically as the space approaches the correct width.

How do ContacEZ IPR Strips prevent sharp corners and subgingival ledges?

The flexible diamond strips—unlike straight strips or discs—curve to create rounded, natural contours on the proximal surfaces of the teeth, thus preventing sharp corners. Subgingival ledges are prevented because the strips can safely be used to reduce the full proximal surface, even slightly below the gumline, without endangering the gingival tissue.

What methods are acceptable for sterilizing the Incremental Thickness Gauge?

Since the melting range of the stainless steel is 1400-1450°C, steam heat autoclave, dry heat autoclave, and chemiclave are all acceptable forms of sterilization for the Incremental Thickness Gauge.

At what temperature should I sterilize my Incremental Thickness Gauges?

Made of the highest quality stainless steel, our Incremental Thickness Gauges are corrosion resistant and have a very high melting point. They are safe at any of the following standard temperatures for heat sterilization:

Steam Autoclave. . . 273°F / 134°C (time will vary)
Oven-type dry heat sterilizer. . . 320°F / 160°C for 1-2 hours
Rapid heat transfer-type dry heat sterilizer. . . 375°F / 191°C for 6-20 minutes
Unsaturated chemical vapor sterilizer. . . 273°F / 134°C for 20 minutes

For best sterilization practices, please refer to our Cleaning and Sterilzation Instructions.

Are ContacEZ IPR Strips really safe, fast, and efficient?

ContacEZ IPR strips are meticulously designed in order to perform IPR quickly without sacrificing the safety and efficacy that ContacEZ Strips are known for. Our IPR Strips are arranged by thickness, starting from Yellow (0.06mm) and moving to Red (0.12mm), Blue (0.15mm), Green (0.20mm), Purple (0.25mm), Brown (0.30mm). When first passing the strip buccolingually in the interproximal space, you will feel heavy friction between the strip and the tooth surface. This friction will diminish after the first several passes, signaling that it is time to move on to the next thicker strip in the System. Repeat until the desired reduction is achieved.

How long will it take to achieve 0.30mm of space when performing IPR with ContacEZ Strips?

Generally, each strip is used for around 4-6 seconds, (with 4-6 back and forth strokes), so, beginning with the thinner strips and working up to the thicker strips, it should take around 30 seconds to achieve 0.30mm of space.

Can the ContacEZ Snap-On Disc Guards be used with any disc?

Yes, our Disc Guard can be used with most discs, rubber wheels and brushes on the current market up to 22mm diameter. Use with Doriot style, slow speed handpieces.

Can the ContacEZ Snap-On Disc Guards be reused?

Yes, our Snap-On DiscGuard is autoclavable, steam heat only, up to 270°F for 10 minutes at 30 psi max.

Will the Snap-On DiscGuard work with my handpiece?

The DiscGuard is designed for Doriot style straight nose cone handpieces (pictured here), which is the industry standard and commonly used in dental offices. Examples include the straight nose cone handpiece from most of the handpiece manufacturers like Titan Star Dental, Medidenta, Aseptico, NSK, Midwest, Vector, MTI, Nakamura, etc.

Why are ContacEZ IPR strips not perforated?

Our solid, diamond-coated, stainless steel strips are designed to offer increased surface area, last longer, and reduce enamel more efficiently. Perforated strips break quickly and leave unwanted scratches on the enamel surface.