No Assembly Required

Aug. 1, 2007
Putting jigsaw puzzles together is sometimes easier said than done and sometimes monotonous.

by Karen Kaiser

Putting jigsaw puzzles together is sometimes easier said than done and sometimes monotonous. Picture the multitude of puzzle pieces mixed together in a box, providing hours of challenging entertainment to complete the puzzle. The odd-shaped pieces are often small and interlocking. Having confidence that none of the pieces is missing gives the puzzler assurance the picture will eventually come together. For hygienists who recommend various home-care products or perform procedures that require many pieces to assemble during delivery or treatment, having all necessary items grouped together minimizes guesswork.

During the first week of March 2007, the world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle was released. This puzzle has exactly 24,000 pieces. Just imagine the hours upon hours required to complete this demanding puzzle. The brightly colored puzzle titled “Life - The Great Challenge” measures more than 14 feet x 5 feet. When completed and mounted, wouldn’t this puzzle be an incredible decoration for an operatory wall? Perhaps such a task intimidates you. Recommending and performing hygiene procedures may seem demanding, too, at times, especially when we need to assemble so many different products to complete the job. Fortunately, manufacturers, realizing our time must be productive, preassemble items so that they may be quickly and conveniently put to use.

Coming Together

Solving a puzzle is easier when all of the pieces fully interlock. Likewise, performing hygiene treatment when all of the pieces are in a kit makes the task easier. Sunstar has assembled various kits in trendy mesh bags and shatter-proof blue plastic containers perfect for holding home-care items. Whatever the recommendation for care - from orthodontic cases to implants to general healthy smile maintenance - these kits contain the goods.

The orthodontic mesh zippered kit has prepackaged components complete with an instructional brochure encouraging orthodontic patients to perform debris removal. These kits contain orthodontic hardware-compatible toothbrushes, Super Tip toothbrushes (even a travel-type brush, complete with a travel cap), to support a proper regimen for appliance care. For bracket and interproximal deplaquing, floss, floss threaders, and Gobetweens cleaners are included. And for bracket biofilm left behind, Red-Cote disclosants can help patients actually see missed plaque, making it simpler for them to remove the red areas. The supplies include a plastic mouth mirror so patients may view all areas of the tissues when disclosed. In the event that the brackets cause painful tissue irritation, patients may adjust their usual home-care routine until the soreness subsides. Unfortunately, bacteria do not take a break from attacking the tissues, even during healing. Rincinol PRN, a bio-adherent bandage included in the kit, may be applied to the tissues to promote and soothe tissue during the healing process. For orthodontic wire distress, the kit contains unflavored wax.

Dental practices are charged with maintaining more implants. Still, unless your practice is a specialty office or one with a high number of implant patients, recommending and dispensing implant care items is not part of the daily routine. The kits with everything needed at hand are a smart choice, making storage of the products ultra-convenient. The GUM® Post Implant Care Kit comes in a plastic case that contains a delicate postsurgical toothbrush, subtle enough for healing dome and adjacent tissues.

A Dual-Action Tongue Cleaner, End Tuft, and Proxabrush Trav-Ler®, along with Post Implant Care floss aids and Rincinol PRN, are all part of the gear. Having implants is perhaps a new venture for your patient, so going to a retail store to find the correct maintenance items may be a challenge at first. With an implant kit, your office provides a valuable service and commitment to the patient’s care. Patients want to be assured that the general practitioner they see regularly can provide the essentials for keeping their implant tissue healthy.

It takes hours of time to solve a puzzles, but as clinicians we may have only minutes to gather needed items and complete treatment before the next scheduled patient arrives. When manufacturers produce kits with all items required to complete a procedure, the clincian saves much time indeed. When treatment calls for cosmetic polishing, kits containing items like syringe-type polish paste, discs, mandrels, applicators, brush bristles, and mixing pads remove the burdens of chairside delivery. In a hygiene schedule, leaving the operatory to fetch items becomes a time-management issue.

When puzzles are mass-produced, the cardboard artwork is fed into a press where steel blades generating tons of pressure cut pieces to the desired shape, like a cookie cutter on dough. Most jigsaw puzzles are interlocking, which means the joined pieces remain tightly linked even when shifted. When performing procedures repeatedly, having prepackaged supplies on hand is convenient. Prophy packs, containing both angles and paste, save time between patient set-up. Young Dental packages its four best-selling angles in the EZ Paks® which also inlude four flavors of D-Lish reduced-splatter paste in medium or coarse grit texture.

Preventech offers the Pivot prophy pack with Next paste and the Pivot angle. DENTSPLY Professional has the revolv® angle with an array of flavor options. Denticator’s Combination Pack has its original angle in festival or fang dango flavors.

Take the time constraints out of treatment delivery by incorporating preassembled or prepackaged items. With all of your newfound free time, you can take up an enthralling hobby and piece together the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle!

The author did not receive compensation for the products mentioned. For more pieces to the puzzle, visit,,,,, or

About the Author

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis’ Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].