Plumber’s tape for dentistry

Plumber’s tape can have many uses in your dental practice.

One product that is really inexpensive and useful to have around your dental practice is plumber’s tape. You can buy it for a few dollars at the local Canadian Tire or hardware store and it can be very handy for isolation.

If you look at the pictures attached to this post I have isolated the adjacent teeth with plumber’s tape so I can etch and bond the veneer preparations without damaging the adjacent teeth. This isolation technique prevents etchant and adhesive from contaminating the adjacent tooth structure, which can lead to bonding these teeth together when you insert the veneers.

Another use for plumber’s tape is to isolate the screw holes for screw retained provisional implant crowns like the ones in my exclusive video, How To Create A Custom Implant Transfer For Esthetic Implant Cases. In a case like the one in the video the plumber’s tape is used to prevent the cement or composite resin from clogging up the abutment screws and make it difficult to remove or tighten them at a later date. This can be very useful when you have provisional implant crowns that need to be removed one or two times to refine the esthetics before the completion of the case.

With the plumber’s tape you can screw the provisional into place and insert the rolled up plumber’s tape over the abutment screw and then seal the access with composite resin. When you need to remove the provisional all you need to do is drill out the composite resin to the level of the plumbers tape and then remove the plumber’s tape with a probe or explorer.

I used cotton pellets for this technique for years but I now find that the plumber’s tape is a cleaner and easier way to handle these cases.

Do you have any other ways you use Plumber’s tape in your practice?
Feel free to add any comments or questions using the link above.

Comments

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  2. Owain Bevan says

    What thickness is the plumber’s tape?

    Great blog, thank you.

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  4. Andrew Coburn says

    Thanks for the question Allan and the answer Stephen! I had expereinced the same issue and had not come up with the answer!

  5. what is the best way to remove the tape after you have bonded? It is so thin that it tears when you try to remove it and some stays interproximately.Repeated flossing helps but is there a better solution?

    • Dr. Kurt Sawula says

      How do you prevent the tape from getting pulled out with the high volume suction when you’re rinsing your etch?

    • Dr Stephen Phelan says

      Hi Kurt,

      That is a great question. I usually try and wrap it around the adjacent teeth so it is locked on but if that can’t be done we hold it down with an explorer or probe.
      Thanks

    • Dr Stephen Phelan says

      Hi Allan,

      That is a great point. I should make this an actual blog post but a tip I forgot to mention is that if you are using bonding resin next to plumbers tape you will often make it very sticky and hard to remove once you place your composite restoration. What I have found works is if you remove the plumbers tape after you have cured your adhesive and place fresh plumbers tape, the fresh tape will not tend to stick to the composite resin as much and you can remove it easier.
      I hope this helps and thanks for the great question.

  6. Dr Stephen Phelan says

    Hey Sam,

    That is an excellent use as well!!

  7. I also use plumber’s tape with diastema closures to get a really nice contact that you can’t get by using mylar strips.

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