Tech Tip: Why do engagers fall off?

Question:

An engager fell off the tooth when my patient removed their aligners. What should I do?

Answer:

The root cause of a loose engager is that something is preventing the bonding agent from bonding the engager to the tooth's surface. When this happens, the composite material cannot fully adhere to the tooth, and the engager will fall off. 

The most frequent causes of this issue are:

  • The petroleum jelly used on the engager template may have smeared on the tooth surface.
  • Plaque on the tooth may be preventing the acid etch from working.
  • The tooth was a restoration, and the etch was not effective on the restoration's surface.
  • The compressed air used to dry off the tooth during engager placement could have been contaminated with oil.

To solve this issue, follow these helpful tips from our chief technical officer, Paul Dihn:

  • If you notice that petroleum jelly transfered from the engager template to the etching surface of the tooth, use the previous step that best fit the patient as an engager template without using petroleum jelly. (If you cannot use the previous aligner as a template, try lifting the original template off of the tooth during insertion.)
  • If there is plaque on the tooth, micro-etch (sandblast) the surface of the tooth, and then re-install the engager using our instructions, listed in ClearComm.
  • If you are placing an engager on a restoration, use a special etch from your dental supplier that is formulated to work with the restored surface. (Note: this may not always work.)
  • Contaminated compressed air is an issue with the system, and can be hard to correct. If you suspect that your compressed air may be contaminated with oil, try drying the tooth with a low-heat blow dryer that can be purchased from your dental supplier.
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