Bitewings, we take them all the time. You know that situation where you go to place it and it seems like there is no lingual sulcus at all! Or the patient screws up their face (understandably) due to discomfort.

Just as you are about to place the film in the sulcus simply ask the patient to lift their tongue. As they do, place the film against it and then ask them to relax. The film will drop right into place comfortably as the tongue and floor of mouth lowers.

Pretty simple right? Yep but I’m not posting this because we’re scraping the barrell. I’m posting this because this has genuinely helped may these situations easier and more comfortable for my patients.

Asking the patient to raise their tongue is just as useful when placing cheek protectors (Neodry, Dry tip etc) lingually. This is something I do for every lower digital impression. I ask the patient to raise their tongue, i place the Neodry against it then ask them to relax, pulling the guard down with the lateral tongue adjacent to the teeth comfortably.

Ever placed a dam and noticed the tongue sneaks between the clamp and tooth? Surprising situation but some tongues just end up everywhere. Don’t forget to ask them to raise their tongue and move it out of the way. Problem solved.

Hope this helped. If you want more tips check out our Podcast and Facebook group and you’ll get the chance to get your questions on the podcast. If you like what we’re doing, do us a favour and share!

David is a recent graduate dentist working in private practice in regional NSW, Australia. Read more at

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