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Inside Dentistry
October 2018
Volume 14, Issue 10

Hartzell Gutta-Percha Removal Instruments

Faster, cleaner removal with a host of other uses

I began my career practicing preventive and restorative dentistry and then went on to specializing in endodontics. My discovery of DenMat's Hartzell gutta-percha removal instruments occurred randomly while I was walking the exhibit floor at the annual AAE meeting. Removing gutta-percha during re-treatment can be challenging for various reasons. It can also be time consuming, particularly when removing existing gutta-percha with chloroform or when hand or rotary files become separated. This tiny instrument seemed like it would make the process much less challenging-and it does.

The Hartzell gutta-percha remover is unique because the instrument comes in two different sizes and the "hooks" at each end are oriented in different directions. I like to refer to them as "buccolingual" and "mesiodistal" directional hooks, respectively. So, depending on the tooth, its location, and its orientation and length, I will sometimes use all four instruments in order to fully remove gutta-percha from a canal. One great thing about this instrument is that, sometimes, it pulls out all of the compacted gutta-percha in one piece. However, when it doesn't remove the filling in one piece, the remaining gutta-percha can be removed quickly and without leaving a trace on the inner walls of the canal. When working around apical curves, other methods need to be used, such as a drop of chloroform and K- or Hedstrom files. Despite this need, I would not want to remove gutta-percha from an entire canal using that method, because the softened gutta-percha would cover the canal walls.

In addition to its primary function of removing gutta-percha, as time passed, I found other novel ways to benefit from the small hook at the end of this explorer-like hand instrument. In situations involving more conservative or smaller than traditional endodontic access and in concepts such as a truss access and step-down access, DenMat's Hartzell gutta-percha remover becomes an invaluable asset for the removal of pulp tissue from under pulp horns, the removal of cotton pellets or endodontic sponges during the second or subsequent visits, the removal of separated instrument fragments that are not lodged in the canal walls, and the removal of dentin chips or denticles from inside the chambers, among other uses.

I'd recommend these instruments to clinicians who perform traditional root canal treatments as well those who perform more conservative root canal treatments. Once they use it, they will love having it in their armamentarium and will want it in every setup.

Key Takeaways

1. A microscopic (.06 mm) retrieval hook at the instrument's tip is designed to latch onto gutta-percha so it can be pulled from the canal.

2. The instrument's tip is thin and endowed with enough flexibility to conform to the root's shape and orientation.

3. Left/right and up/down directional hooks are available to enable the successful retrieval of gutta-percha regardless of the orientation of the access.

4. Both 18 mm and 30 mm tips are available to accommodate canals of all lengths or to be used in combination while working at different levels of the same canal wall.

Nishan Odabashian, DMD, MS
Glendale Micro Endodontics
Glendale, California

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