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Inside Dentistry
March 2023
Volume 19, Issue 3

A Polishing System for Any Surface

Brasseler USA’s family of Feather Lite™ Polishers offers versatility and flexibilty for natural esthetics

Douglas A. Terry, DDS

Widely known for his research, writing, and lectures on esthetic and restorative dentistry, Douglas A. Terry, DDS, brings his philosophy of patient-centered dentistry into everything that he does. Whether he is treating his own patients in his private practice in Houston, Texas, or teaching students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is an adjunct professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, he emphasizes the importance of the patient's role in the treatment plan. "The patient must become part of the restorative solution in order to increase the longevity of the natural dentition, the alveolar and soft-tissue structures, and the restoration," he says. "To me, success is getting patients to take care of not only their oral health but also their bodies." As part of this involvement, patients must be educated about the goals and objectives of their treatment plans. "Patients make better decisions about their restorative care and maintenance when they are provided with all of the relevant information," says Terry.

In the third edition of his influential book, Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry: Material Selection and Technique, which he co-authored with Willi Geller, CDT, Terry established three principal objectives for restorative and esthetic periodontal treatments. "The principal objectives are to prevent the need for restorative and/or periodontal procedures by maintaining the maximum integrity of the hard and soft tissues, to preserve the hard and soft tissues before and during any restorative or periodontal therapy, and to perpetuate the longevity of any restorative or periodontal treatment by increasing the time interval between performed procedures," he says. According to Terry, when patients understand and are educated about these objectives, they are more motivated to take responsibility for their roles in the restorative solution.

One way that Terry addresses the third objective, restoration longevity, is through the polishing of his restorations, and his current polishers of choice are Brasseler USA's Feather Lite family of polishers. "In the past, with metal restorations, we were concerned about form and function, and the smoothness was about the interface and occlusion," he says.  "However, with contemporary biomaterials, there is an additional element to the restorative equation—esthetics, and we must consider color, composition, and biointegration." Terry explains that polishing becomes important not only to achieve the right color and translucency but also to prevent plaque from building up on the restoration and remaining tooth structure. The unique design of the Feather Lite polishers' flexible spirals permits efficient polishing of even the hard-to-reach pits and fissures of the occlusal surface. According to Terry, this flexible design also allows the macro- and micromorphology of the surface to be preserved, giving restorations a natural, enamel-like finish while maintaining the ideal light reflectivity of their polished surfaces.

The Feather Lite polishers are diamond-impregnated, polyurethane spirals, which ensures that their cutting particles are harder than the filler particles of current restorative biomaterials. Terry notes that these durable polishers work for biomaterials of all different compositions, including porcelain, composite, PMMA, zirconia, feldspathic porcelain, and lithium disilicate. "These devices have a myriad of uses for polishing final restorations, both extraorally in the laboratory and intraorally chairside, as well as for polishing provisional restorations," he says. "We use them for the undersides of bridges to achieve a nice ovate pontic smoothness so that the tissue will heal and for ceramic and composite restorations and PMMA materials in peri-implant regions."

Just as patients need to be informed in order to be able to make better decisions, clinicians and technicians also need to be informed about the research regarding restorative materials and techniques in order to make better decisions about their treatment plans. For Terry, being curious about the unknown opens up much more creative learning opportunities than being insecure about not having complete knowledge of a subject. "I'm always learning from my students," he says. "It is interesting how every time I give a presentation, I get questions that take me off in different directions. When I was young, I'd get upset about the fact that I'd get queries, but if you can say, ‘hey, I need to research that more,' you will open up so many interesting possibilities. A whole new chapter of my book was written because someone asked a question, and we were open to going down that road and researching a new area."

Terry has found Brasseler USA to be a great partner to his own clinical practice because they understand the importance of research and continued learning. "Brasseler understands how important it is to keep their clinicians informed of the current research," he says. "They understand the characteristics of the biomaterials and share information on how to get more longevity out of their polishing instruments so that they last longer than one visit. In that and other regards, they really demonstrate that they are invested in the education of their clinicians."

Key Points

• Feather Lite polishers are flexible polishing spirals that can easily adapt to any surface.

• Creates an enamel-like finish and preserves surface differentiation while polishing.

• Dialite™ Feather Lite™ polishers facilitate three-step porcelain polishing.

• Diacomp™ Feather Lite™ polishers accomplish composite polishing with a two-step procedure.

For more information, contact:
Brasseler USA • 800-841-4522

The third edition of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry: Material Selection and Technique, which was co-authored by Douglass A. Terry, DDS, and Willi Geller, CDT, is available from Quintessence Publishing USA at:


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