Separating - Surfaces Between Teeth

Separating Rubbers

Separating Rubbers

In dentistry, “separating” means disrupting the contact surfaces between teeth.

At the contact surfaces, our teeth touch each other. If one would like to work in these spots, the contact must be disrupted; this is called "separating". This is done with so-called rubbers called separating rubbers. Why is this done? One example is to seal initial caries. A further instance would be to place bands across the teeth, either to fasten an orthodontic device, or in case of an infracture. More on that in the video "Cracked Tooth - Root Fracture" and "Banding".

So in order to separate the teeth, so-called separating rubbers are placed between the teeth. They push the teeth slightly and painlessly apart so that the contact surfaces are dissolved. You hardly feel the separation rubbers and they don’t hinder you when eating or talking. Sometimes, such a rubber is lost or swallowed – this isn’t a problem; the dentist will simply insert a new one.

There are no reasonable alternatives to separating.

The risks of separating are insignificant with an experienced dentist; nevertheless, complications may occur in individual cases, possibly requiring additional measures. Every additional measure may in turn lead to complications which may eventually lead to the loss of a tooth. At this point, we will only discuss the specific complications encountered in separating. These are:

  • Injuries to surrounding structures with the separating pliers, such as the tongue, the cheeks, and neighboring teeth, with corresponding consequences.
  • Aspiration – i.e., the breathing in of the separation rubbers. An endoscopic removal may possibly be necessary.
  • The swallowing of the rubber, which is irrelevant, except that the teeth are no longer being separated. The separating procedure will have to be repeated.

This post is also available in: German

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