Monthly Archives: April 2018

Bioactive Restoratives: 4 Tips for Dental Assistants

by Karen L Comisi, RDA, CDA, FAADA

Today’s dental assistants need to be flexible and adaptable. Although we have the opportunity to attend CE courses about new dental techniques and materials, we often end up learning about new procedures and products on the job.

One of the advances that I find most interesting in the dental industry is bioactive restorative materials. As more dentists begin to use bioactive restoratives like ACTIVA BioACTIVE (Pulpdent), it’s important for dental assistants to understand how these materials work. Here are 4 tips for dental assistants to keep in mind when using bioactive restoratives. 

Tip #1:  Understand What Bioactive Means
Bioactive materials stimulate the natural remineralization process. They are moisture friendly and elicit a response from living tissue. In the case of ACTIVA BioACTIVE-RESTORATIVE, the material responds to changes in oral pH by releasing and recharging calcium and  phosphate, which are the building blocks of tooth structure, along with fluoride, which makes teeth more acid resistant. To learn more about how bioactive dental restoratives work, download ACTIVA: A Closer Look at Bioactive Materials.

Tip #2:  Take The Bioactive Break
Many dental assistants are instructed to start light curing composites immediately after placement. When restoring a tooth with ACTIVA BioACTIVE, it is better to give the material a chance to penetrate and integrate with the tooth for 20-30 seconds prior to light curing the material. This 20-30 second pause is what I like to call the “Bioactive Break.” This extra time also mitigates the heat and polymerization stresses associated with curing composites.

Tip #3: Have Extra Automix Tips Ready
I like to have extra mix tips ready at my side when the dentist is restoring multiple teeth. ACTIVA BioACTIVE-RESTORATIVE is a dual cure material and will start to set up in the mix tip after 5-7 minutes at room temperature.  The ambient operatory light can accelerate the curing process, so covering the mix tip with an orange shield, opaque tape, or other light blocking material can help extend the setting time..

Tip #4: Practice Bioactive Infection Control  
Always follow manufacturers’ instructions regarding infection control. Items that come in contact with tooth structure or the mucous membranes are considered semi-critical according to the CDC and should be heat sterilized or immersed in a high-level chemical disinfectant. Since the popular syringe delivery systems we use cannot be reprocessed in this manner, placing a disposable barrier or sleeve to cover the entire syringe and tip is recommended.1 After the procedure is complete, the automix tip should be removed from the dual-barrel cartridge, discarded, and the syringe should be recapped.2

Advances in technology and research are allowing dental health care professionals to offer improved products and services to their patients.  Being a part of the dental team can be very rewarding, and your understanding of the methods and materials used by your doctor is essential to being an integral part of the team.



About Karen L Comisi, RDA, CDA, FAADA
Over the past 33 years, Karen Comisi has held almost every staff position in the dental office, with the exception of dentist and dental hygienist. She has been an orthodontic dental assistant, oral surgeon dental assistant, general dentist assistant, front desk and insurance coordinator, office manager, CFO, Co-Founder of Dental Care with a Difference, PC and currently Co-Founder and CFO of Sleep Focused Solutions, Inc.  She is one of the first licensed, registered dental assistants in New York State and is a founding member and Treasurer of the Southern Tier Dental Assistants Society. Karen is a DANB Certified Dental Assistant, a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, the American Association of Dental Office Managers, the Office for Safety & Asepsis Procedures (OSAP), and The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH).

The Social Dentist Tip #5: Adapt and Stay Grateful

Dr. Ryan McCall grew his Indiana-based dental practice by engaging new and existing patients through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. In this series, The Social Dentist, Dr. McCall offers tips on how to market your dental practice using social media.

Ten years ago, Facebook was king of social media. It was inconceivable that it might decrease in popularity and I would have to promote my practice on other sites. Now I’m excited to have so many social media options to choose from. It means our practices can reach even more people who may want to become friends, patients, or business partners.

Our message can be adapted to fit any platform.  If Facebook isn’t around in ten years, we will adapt and move on #NBD (no big deal).    

Be Grateful
When I started out as a struggling young dentist, I had to focus on profits first in order to meet my financial obligations. Over time I have developed a deep appreciation for the patients who have put their trust in me. This attitude of gratitude has gone a long way in building trust and confidence, the cornerstones of any successful business. 

I sensed the same sense of gratitude when I visited Pulpdent and attended a factory tour and educational seminar with Larry Clark.

Afterwards I emailed Larry and told him how refreshing it was to see an expert in his field who was so concerned with making a difference and leaving a lasting impression. He responded with pure gratefulness. Naturally, I look forward to collaborating more in the future.

More Articles by The Social Dentist

Dr. Ryan McCall

About Dr. Ryan McCall
Dr. Ryan D. McCall was raised in Illinois. He received his BS in Biology and Chemistry from Indiana University and dental degree from the University of Illinois School of Dentistry. He maintains private practices in Indianapolis and Lebanon, Indiana.

Dr. Jack Griffin Discusses Bioactive Materials in Free CE Webinar

Dentist and popular lecturer Dr. Jack Griffin will present “Regenerative Restorations – Durable, Comfortable and Aesthetic Results,” a Continuing Education (CE) webinar on May 8, 2018 at 4:00 PM PT / 7:00 PM ET. 

Sign Up for Dr. Griffin’s Free CE Webinar

Dr. Griffin’s webinar will provide an overview of bioactive materials that are durable, aesthetic and easy to for dentists to use. Participants will learn about dental materials which “not only offer clinical performance but also reduce microleakage while releasing the bio-stimulating ions calcium, phosphate, and fluoride.”

For the past several years, Dr. Griffin has used ACTIVA BioACTIVE, which releases and recharges calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions. He chose ACTIVA because it “lasts longer, looks better and is much kinder to gum tissues” than traditional dental materials like glass ionomers. His three Missouri-based dental practices use ACTIVA BioACTIVE materials for a variety of procedures on patients of all ages. “Our dentists are confident that by using ACTIVA they can provide patients with faster, better healthcare,” said Dr. Griffin in a recent interview.

Dr. Griffin’s free CE webinar “Regenerative Restorations – Durable, Comfortable and Aesthetic Results,” will be available for On-Demand viewing after May 8, 2018 on


About Dr. Jack D Griffin
Dr. Jack D Griffin is one of the most honored and awarded dentists in the country. Jack is one of a hand-full of dentists awarded by his peers Diplomat status with the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry (ABAD), accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), and Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Jack graduated dental school from Southern Illinois University, where he received student dentistry awards and then went on to complete a general dentistry residency at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, with an emphasis in advanced dental care in restorative dentistry, emergency care, implants, oral surgery, and special patient care. Dr. Griffin began his dental practice in Eureka in 1988.