Good isolation is critical for restorative dentists, and patients appreciate it as well.
For one California dentist and his patients, the DryShield isolation system from Solmetex is part of the daily routine. DryShield helps keep the working area inside the patient’s mouth dry, clean, and visible, and Troy Schmedding, DDS, credits it with delivering a more productive office and happier patients.
“It really came about just as part of a 2-fold process,” says Dr Schmedding, who maintains a private practice in Walnut Creek. “We were using at one time a system without an autoclave ability and I didn’t want to have to throw away all these pieces. A little bit of my environmentalist comes out and, oh my God, that’s a lot of plastic rubber to be throwing away.”
The second factor in his thinking was wanting a reliable alternative to using a rubber dam all the time. “I do a lot of adhesive dentistry, and isolation is critical for me in terms of success,” he says. “Not everyone can tolerate a rubber dam. I don’t think DryShield is a replacement for absolutely everything, but ultimately, I found the DryShield to be able to be utilized in a large majority of my patients for quick, easy isolation in a comfortable fashion.”
Dr Schmedding has been using DryShield for about 7 years in his practice, which focuses on esthetic and functional dentistry. Clinicians can opt for the cost savings of autoclavable mouthpieces or the convenience of single-use mouthpieces.
DryShield combines the tasks of high-suction evacuator, saliva ejector, bite block, tongue shield, and oral pathway protector in one easy-to-use device. It is described as an intelligent breakthrough in isolation, bringing ease and comfort to doctors and patients. Designed by a dentist for dentists, the DryShield system is said to dramatically reduce chair time by 25% to 40% per procedure, allowing more appointments and more consistent schedules. It is described as the first all-in-one isolation system to offer a full slate of autoclavable and single-use mouthpiece options to meet the needs of clinicians while also being economical and convenient.
“It really is awesome. It’s autoclavable, and then overall, just the process of delivering the isolation is critical,” Dr Schmedding says. “I can’t work in that type of environment without good isolation, and the DryShield seems to cover it with variable options in terms of sizes and matching bite blocks. The patients get great isolation and it helps us provide good dentistry.”
Every patient in his practice will have some form of isolation, and the majority of that is using the DryShield because of its convenience. It attaches directly to the high-volume evacuator and saves time during procedures.
“Rubber dam is still probably the gold standard in some instances, but ultimately rubber dams are a little bit more difficult,” he says. “DryShield is a great alternative for sure, and for patient comfort the patients tolerate it better.”
Using DryShield also reduces aerosol spread, a risk that became well known during the pandemic. “Patients are more aware of aerosols and that type of thing than ever because of COVID[-19]. So, they are more in tune with what’s going on in your dental operatory than they ever have been before,” Dr Schmedding says. “And that’s really another selling point to a lot of patients. This is great at containing a lot of aerosols, so…it does have an extra benefit. That is important. I definitely use that for a selling strategy as well for those patients [who] may be a bit on the edge. What it’s doing for you and the aerosol containment is huge.”
Increased efficiency is another plus. According to Solmetex, DryShield dentists are seeing chair time reduced by an average of 25% to 40% per procedure.
“There’s less stopping and starting…when you have some form of isolation,” explains Dr Schmedding, who uses DryShield regularly when seating crowns. “So, yes, it does help with efficiency…. It’s a [really] solid product. It checks a lot of boxes in terms of what you’re trying to accomplish.”