We’ve all had a friend or family member who is naturally gifted at something we are not. That can be really frustrating! My dad was a Division 1 college basketball player. He coached me in the sport a lot as a kid. We would run drills. We would talk strategy. Despite my love for the game, I just was not blessed with his natural talent.
The same thing has been true for me with anterior composite work. I have a lot of mentors in this area—Bob Margeas, Newton Fahl, and Marcos Vargas—as some of the best composite artists in the world, and despite taking hands-on courses with all of them, I cannot do what they do. Filtek Matrix by 3M is a new product to help those of us who are not da Vincis of composites!
Filtek Matrix is a digitally designed, 3D-printed matrix system for treating conditions such as peg laterals, diastema closures, and resin composite veneers. This is a bespoke, laboratory-designed and fabricated matrix, so it starts with some lab records. Using the 3M oral care portal, submit a scan (or an analog PVS impression) and some photographs and fill out a prescription stating your goals for the case. A designer at 3M’s laboratory will design the case and send you some images for approval in the portal. Once you approve the case, the 3M laboratory will fabricate the Filtek Matrix kit for your case and ship it out.
Once the kit arrives at your office, you’re ready to schedule the patient for their treatment. I would highly recommend doing all the preliminary training that 3M has for using the Filtek Matrix. It involves a kit with a few different examples along with some instructional videos to watch and follow along. Doing this training will make your chairside experience much better.
Filtek Matrix will help control your line angles, embrasures, and incisal edges. It will also help control the facial layers of composite via a closable window, but this is where the flash will be and will require finishing. After biofilm removal, etching, and bonding, I place the Filtek Matrix and used heated Filtek Supreme Ultra composite and Filtek Supreme Flowable. The most recent case that I used the Filtek Matrix for was six resin composite veneers. I did all six units in a row without removing the matrix. I was able to successfully avoid bonding any teeth together, and had only minimal finishing to do around the facial window areas. The case turned out beautifully, and there’s no way I could have achieved that result with freehand composite veneers.
I do want everyone to understand that using Filtek Matrix is not dummy-proof. It is technique sensitive and will require some training. That said, it can help achieve results that very few skilled clinicians can achieve. Filtek Matrix is a great choice for cases where we want to go above and beyond for tremendous esthetic results.
Editor's note: This article appeared in the January 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.