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Single-use diamonds: The better way to prep teeth

Aug. 1, 2011
Many years ago, I decided to use single use or "disposable" diamonds in my practice. I found that I was able to produce better dentistry for patients when I used a new diamond each time I prepped a tooth.

by Dr. Joe Blaes, Editor

For more on this topic, go to and search using the following key words: single-use diamonds, prepping teeth, margin, Dr. John Molinari, Dr. Joe Blaes.

Many years ago, I decided to use single use or “disposable” diamonds in my practice. I found that I was able to produce better dentistry for patients when I used a new diamond each time I prepped a tooth.

It was much too expensive to do this with reusable diamonds so I searched for a company that produced disposable diamonds. That’s when I found NeoDiamonds from a company called Microcopy.

When I was using reusable diamonds, I had a bur block with 30 diamonds. I am not sure how I ever decided which bur to use, and I know I lost plenty of time just looking at all those diamonds and trying to make a decision. But NeoDiamonds comes with 25 diamonds of one size wrapped in sterile packages in a dispensing box.

To control my inventory, I put a system in place for the diamonds that I would use for certain preps. Over time, I reduced the bur block from 30 diamonds to six that I use for preparing teeth for crowns, veneers, inlays, and onlays.

This has also greatly simplified clinical setups for my dental assistants. They know from the appointment schedule on the wall in the preparation area what teeth I am prepping so they only place the burs that I will need on the tray. What could be easier?

I have thought for years that my patients and I deserve a new, sharp, unworn diamond for every procedure. With a new diamond, prepping the tooth for any type of restoration is faster, better, and easier.

If I am prepping more than three teeth, my assistants know to put an extra diamond on the tray. Used diamonds do not even return to the sterilization room because the assistants throw them away. My assistants love me for this!

Dental assistants cannot effectively clean diamonds or burs no matter how hard they scrub. My good friend, Dr. John Molinari, who has a PhD in microbiology and is now the director of infection control for The Dental Advisor, has written numerous articles on sterilization of diamonds and burs.

Dr. Molinari’s findings show that even after a serious cleaning, burs and diamonds that are correctly sterilized and then placed in agar-agar will grow bacteria after being in an incubator for 24 hours. It would be hard to track these bacteria to a disease, but we do cut tissue and open a perfect way for the bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The best way to sterilize a bur or a diamond is to throw it away!

Until about five years ago, Microcopy owned the single-use diamond market. Today, a number of companies — including SS White, Premier, and Brasseler — have entered the market with single use diamonds. DENTSPLY Midwest is launching a single use diamond with a clever name — ONCE. Now all the major bur manufacturers are producing these types of diamonds so you can buy your favorite brand.

Today, single use diamonds come in every shape, size, and grit that you could possibly want. The cost of these diamonds is slightly more than $1 each. You will find when using these types of diamonds that they wear faster. So when you finish margin and smooth prep, the coarse diamond you started with will be a fine diamond.

All of these companies will send you samples of single use diamonds in the size, shape, and grit you want. Try them and I know they will satisfy your restorative preparation needs.

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