Temporary Crown Matrix Buttons


buttonsby Dr Donna Usher, The Dentists, Cairns, QLD, and Whitfords Dental Centre, Perth, WA

Whenever I start at a new practice, this is the product I immediately order. They are incredibly useful, and quite often the other dentists have never heard of them. They’re also very cheap to purchase.

What’s good about it?

These matrix buttons are a thermoplastic material about the size of a 10-cent piece. When heated in boiling water, they become pliable and can be used to make a key for a temporary crown. You simply mould it down over the tooth and use water or air to cool it down. As it cools, it hardens until it can be pulled off and used as the key. Two or three buttons can be joined together when preparing multiple units.

Some dentists use alginate to take an impression but I find it difficult to tell if the alginate is seated all the way down when making the temporary. Plus, the alginate has to be thrown out after use, whereas the matrix buttons can be kept in case the temporary is lost or broken.

I know some dentists use bite registration material but this can get expensive, especially when considering the wasted material in the mixing tip. The matrix buttons are easy to use and more cost effective than any other method I know.

What’s not so good?

This is a great product that does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The only thing you need to watch out for is squeezing the key as you remove it. If it isn’t totally set, it will distort, or it will flex as it seats and squish the temporary as it’s removed.

It’s also a good idea to place a piece of gauze under the button when it’s melting to stop it sticking to the rubber bowl. And if you find it’s sticking to your gloves, wait a few seconds then start moulding it again. It does that when it’s really hot.

Where did you get it

Amalgadent Dental Supplies

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  1. It sound rather interesting and as a great tool but putting a thermoplastic material heated to 100 celcius on a tooth surface sounds very risky. A pulp temperature increase of just 5,5 celcius will cause irreversible damage and pulp necrosis ( Zach and Cohen 1965)

    What is your experience ?


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