Tech Tip: Engagers - how to remove

The engager  is made up of dental composite material, so a good general guideline for EngagerIMG14.pngremoving engagers, would be to use the same methods that you would use to remove composite from the tooth.

Parts needed

  • Highspeed handpiece with water irrigation
  • White stone or multi-fluted composite finishing burs
  • Fine diamond burs
  • Ceramic bracket remover pliers (optional)


Here are five different methods for removing engagers:

  • Use a high speed handpiece with water irrigation and a multi-fluted composite finishing burr to grind off the composite. Most efficient method
  • Start with a diamond or a more aggressive burr to remove the bulk of the composite (be careful to not damage the enamel) and then finish off with a multi-fluted finishing burr or a stone.
  • Use your customary technique for polishing the enamel surface of the tooth.
  • Use a series of diamond burs ranging from coarse to fine. Most expensive method
  • Use "ceramic bracket remover pliers" and white stone polishing burs, both found in almost all orthodontic supply catalogs. Least effective method

Checking if all the composite has been removed

A common technique is to drag a metal tipped instrument such as a scaler or an explorer over the tooth. Composite resin will be revealed as the material picks up marks from the metal instrument. This is a good practice not only for ensuring all the composite material is removed but also to prevent enamel damage, particularly when using diamond burs.

Alternatively, a lead pencil may be used to mark the composite. This technique works beautifully to better visualize small composite fragments left on the tooth. 

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Until next time…

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