For students this is a dangerous procedure. Your greatest concern should be the preservation of the borders. If you destroy the borders, you destroy the denture. There should be very little polishing if the wax-up was done properly.

Do not polish the teeth at all. That means not even with Acrilustre. Protect the teeth with tape if you feel you can't avoid them.

Need I say that you should not polish the tissue side of the denture. If you do then the impression is worthless and the denture will not fit. This happens once every five years.

Students never polish the inside of cast crowns. They know immediately that the crown will not fit. Think of the complete denture as a crown. If you do polish the "impression" side then you will be remembered by the faculty for years to come.

The philosophy is to use less and less abrasive materials. I would also suggest using a handpiece and smaller polishing tools which you are familiar with. Lathes are traditionally used by lab techs. I have seen dentures pulled out of the hands of students when using a lathe.

Use acrylic burs, stones, brushes, smaller rag wheels (about the size of a quarter) bullet-shaped felt cones, prophy cups, and rubber wheels. A three inch rag wheel in a lathe with wet pumice can cut too quickly.

Margins have to be kept rounded and the original width. A sharp margin will mean the loss of retention. A sharp margin means you may have to do the entire denture over.

The flash can be removed with an acrylic bur or stone. Papilla have to be polished without polishing the teeth. You can use a prophy cup with pumice or a small rubber wheel.

The anterior root indications have to be polished with small tools and a delicate touch. You have to maintain their shape while polishing.

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©1999 by Julius Rosen, D.D.S.