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By Dr. Todd Pickle

Polytetrafluoroethylene is a truly amazing material used in many industries and has lots of uses in dentistry and everyday life!

The #1 best use in Dentistry:  Closing screw access holes in implant abutments, crowns and hybrids prostheses!  PTFE is very hydrophobic and does not collect microorganisms like cotton pellets or retraction cords, or heaven forbid wax!  It can be packed and condensed, and then other restorative materials placed over it and they won’t stick to it.  It will protect the implant screw so that your implant components are retrievable, which is a prime benefit of dental implants over teeth. 

It is important to place the PTFE tape starting in the deepest portion of the screw access hole directly on top of the implant screw head.  Then continue to pack the tape (start with a long piece about 2 inches) until you have about 2-3mm remaining of the occlusal portion of the screw access hole.  This will allow enough space for adequate filling materials (interim or permanent) to be placed over the PTFE tape and not always falling out and needing replaced.  But it also means you don’t have to dig very deep when you need to take it out.

Other dental-related uses include: Using it in endodontic access holes, blocking out undercuts or adjacent teeth around composite placements, covering sutures while making impressions (instead of rubber dams). “Gore-Tex” sutures are PTFE because they are strong, do not attract microorganisms and do not resorb.

And of course, threading pipes for plumbing!  And best of all it is cheap and you can get it at Home Depot!