Tools of the trade: No. 12 scalpel blade

At the cutting edge.
At the cutting edge.

by Dr Jodie Dobson, Dobson Dental, Ferntree Gully, VIC


I was at a seminar about 10 years ago and the speaker flippantly mentioned a particular way he used a No. 12 blade. I didn’t get much else from the seminar but that one little thing stuck with me. I used it in my practice the next day and was sold. For the past decade, that one throw-away line has influenced how I perform dentistry.

What’s good about it

I do a lot of aesthetic and restoration work with composite resins. Every now and then there’s a tiny little interproximal area that you need to trim. You might be flossing between the teeth and a minute overhang will cause a catch. I just pop my No. 12 blade in there and get rid of the tiny catch or overhang. It’s so quick, easy and efficient—it’s fantastic.

It simply can’t be beaten for very fine adjusting of composite resin in a spot that’s too tight for a Soflex disc or a sanding strip.

When using resins for anterior aesthetic work, often a local isn’t required and interproximal strips can be quite painful on the patient’s gums. I just use the No. 12 blade to trim those difficult spots. It’s really straight forward and works beautifully.

It’s not something that I use every day but when I need it—and I might only use it for half a second—it’s a real time saver.

What’s not so good

Originally, the blade had to be set up on a metal handle. It would take the nurse longer to prepare it than it took me to use it. That problem was fixed recently with the production of a disposable instrument with a plastic handle.

Where did you get it



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