Non Stick Teflon Retraction for Class 5’s

Reflux, lemon water and wine. What do they all have in common? They’re rampant tooth destroyers and our patients often don’t even know. 

Erosion is everywhere. Most commonly we see patients with buccal erosive/abrasion lesions around a few of their teeth, generally upper canines to first molars however it can be more generalised depending on acid source and brushing habits. Because of the erosion the margins of theses cavities are equi-gingival with tight healthy gingiva attached. This is a classic situation where placing cord can take longer than the filling itself. Or worse still, your beautiful class 5 restoration becomes fibre reinforced with the cord and your forced to redo the margin. In these situations there is an easier way.


The universal dental hero material – PTFE well known as Teflon (a brand name from the founding company) or plumbers tape. When cord just won’t stay in the sulcus or it’s simply too big try a strip of Teflon. It is thinner, hydrophobic and retracts the same as a very thin cord.

  1. Roll a piece of Teflon in a long strip
  2. Dry the tooth and sulcus.
  3. Place the same as cord using a thin cord packer.
  4. Ensure the cord and sulcus are dry and use a wet packer to prevent it sticking

Placing teflon cord can be tricky especially getting the first part to stay in the sulcus. There are two tricks I find help. Firstly, use a wet cord packer which i learnt from Dr Lincoln Harris. Otherwise you will push it in and it will come straight back out of the sulcus with the packer. Secondly as with all cords place the initial part at the papilla. Personally I always place the mesial as a matter of routine, and move around buccal towards the palatal if retracting the whole tooth.

Teflon is a useful dental material with a whole bunch of applications. More on this coming soon.

Try it out, let us know how you go on our Facebook group


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.