What are dental staples?

Has your dentist told you that you need to wear dental staples during a treatment? You don't have to worry; here we tell you what they are about.

Last update: September 21, 2021

When visiting a dental office, many strange utensils can attract the attention of the patient. Among these, we find dental staples, also known as clamps, by its name in English.

They are used simultaneously with a special rubber and an arch called de Young in those interventions in which it is necessary to isolate the intraoral clinical field, that is, separate the tooth being worked on from the rest of the mouth. As they are? What are its uses? We will detail it below.

What are dental staples?

Dental staples or clamps are a dental instrument that it is used when isolating the mouth. In particular, they are small metal braces, with a special design, which allows them to adapt to the shape of the crown of the teeth. In this way, they surround and embrace the dental element in its cervical portion.

Staples are made of tempered, chrome-plated, or high-carbon stainless steel. They have the characteristic of being resistant and elastic, which facilitates their placement.

To manipulate them It is necessary to use another special instrument called a "staple holder or"portaclamps». It is a forceps that holds the dental staple and opens it to be able to put it around the tooth and place it in its correct place.

Staples are used to hold a special rubber in the mouth, called a "rubber dam." In this way, it is possible to isolate the tooth being worked on from the rest of the oral structures.

In turn, the rubber dam has a perforation over which the tooth to be isolated will pass, and the clamp will hold it in place. The rest of the material is hooked stretched and with tension on the arch of Young, which will keep the field stable.

In dentistry, dental staples facilitate the performance of some interventions such as endodontics.

Function of dental staples

The main function of dental staples is to isolate the tooth from the rest of the mouth to proceed to intervene. These hold the rubber dam in place, and the latter, being stretched by the arch of Young, forms a clean field where only the tooth to be treated is visible.

Absolute dental isolation is a very useful procedure for the dentist, as it improves visibility and accessibility so that the intervention is more comfortable, simple and clean.

Working on an isolated tooth guarantees a moisture-free environment and reduces the risk of contaminating the work area with oral bacterial flora. In addition, it avoids the interference of other oral structures, such as the lips, tongue and cheeks, which can make it difficult to access the work area.

The procedures in which this tool is used are as follows:

  • Root canals
  • Operative.
  • Pediatric dentistry.
  • Oral rehabilitation.

The insulation also acts as a barrier that protects the patient. Avoid getting water, liquids, dental materials or small instruments into the mouth of the person being treated.

This prevents accidents, such as swallowing a small item or damaging the mucosa with acidic, caustic or irritating substances. For example, the contact of sodium hypochlorite used for canal irrigation during root canals could be uncomfortable for the patient if it gets into the mouth.

Advantages of dental isolation

We have already told you how isolation with dental staples improves the conditions for the performance of certain dental treatments. This directly influences the duration of the procedures and their final success. Next, we mention the main advantages of working on a tooth isolated from the rest:

  • Improves the visibility and accessibility of the dentist to the clinical field.
  • Avoid interference of the work area with other oral structures, like the patient's tongue.
  • Reduces contamination of the work area with saliva and blood from the mouth.
  • Reduces contamination with oral microorganisms.
  • Provides a dry field. Avoid contact of saliva with the tooth. This improves the adhesion of dental materials.
  • Protect the patient. It reduces the risk of accidents by avoiding the eventual ingestion of foreign bodies or the contact of irritants with the oral structures.
  • Provide comfort and calm.

Types of dental staples

There are a wide variety of dental staple designs on the market. This allows the dentist to have the possibility of choosing the alternative that best suits the needs of each clinical case.

The clamps They differ according to the specific oval shape they have to fit the anatomy of the dental neck. What's more, They have different characteristics that make their use more appropriate in different situations.

Next, we mention some peculiarities that the different types of dental staples can have:

  • With wings: they have a small outer edge on which the rubber dam can be placed extraorally. In addition, they allow to support the fingers when placing them.
  • Wingless: first the clamp on the tooth and then the rubber dam is positioned on it.
  • Retention: exert force horizontally.
  • Gingival retraction: they exert force apically, spreading subgingivally. They can be placed in a deeper position and are therefore ideal for periodontal treatments or teeth that do not finish erupting.
  • Butterfly, neck or cervical: They are special dental staples for cervical caries operations in anterior and premolar teeth.
  • Serrated with serrated edge: they grant greater retention on the tooth surface.
  • With the arch distalized: they facilitate the access of the instruments to the area to be treated and leave the mesial portion of the tooth free.

The different types of staples are classified according to a universal coding that identifies the clamp. The code allows to know its characteristics and on which teeth it can be used through a number and letter.

How are dental staples used?

We have already mentioned that dental staples are used in conjunction with the dam rubber and the Young in the dental isolation procedure. There are different ways the dentist can choose for placement.

Sometimes the rubber is put in first and then the staple; in other cases, the clamp and then the dam. Finally, at other times everything is put together. The method used depends on the following factors:

  • The chosen staple.
  • The instruments available to the dentist.
  • The needs of the clinical case.
  • The professional's preferences.

In any case, Although the moments and the order of placement vary, the result is similar. Here are the steps required to achieve oral isolation with dental staples:

  1. Preparation of the patient: appliances or prostheses are removed. If necessary, anesthesia of the tooth is performed.
  2. Prepare the rubber dam: Taking into account the location of the tooth to be worked, a hole is made on the rubber with a special perforator.
  3. Place the bow Young: the ends of the rubber are hooked on the tines of the bow. It should be stretched so that it is taut horizontally, but slack vertically, to comfortably reach the tooth. The open area of ​​the arch is facing up.
  4. Select and test the staple: According to the needs of the case, the staple is chosen and a piece of dental floss is tied to recover it in case of accidents. The clamp with the portaclamps and it is tested in the mouth to verify the correct fit to the neck of the tooth.
  5. Attach the staple: it is put in the hole of the rubber dam with the proper orientation. Then the whole complex is clamped clamp + rubber + arch with the staple holder, and is located on the tooth.
  6. Remove the staple holder of the staple, release its fins and rearrange the dam if necessary.

In this way, the insulation is ready and the professional has a clean and dry field to start working comfortably.

There are several types of dental staples; however, they all tend to have similar results.

Benefits for both

Absolute isolation of the mouth is a fundamental tool in the practice of many dental therapies. Its use not only means greater comfort for the dentist, but also it also brings well-being and safety to the patient.

In addition, the results of procedures performed under these conditions are usually more successful. The quality and longevity of the treatments increase if they are done in isolation.

The image of a rubber band, a bow and a pair of clamps carried with a clothespin can scare you a bit. However, now you know that This procedure provides a clean, dry and safe environment. So when the dentist mentions the need to place dental staples for a treatment in your mouth, there is no reason to fear.