20 Jun 2018

How to choose a dental cotton roll

Cotton rolls may seem to be a simple and uncomplicated product. However, there are differences in all cotton rolls - especially in quality - depending on which brand is chosen. Oral Health Professionals must consider the different qualities when choosing their brand of cotton rolls.

Cotton roll features to consider:

  1. Durability

All cotton roll products need to be able to minimize the number of changes during the duration of procedures. Having to always replace a cotton roll due to durability can cause interruptions and higher costs due to higher usage.

  1. Absorbency

Cotton rolls must create a capillary action to establish a drier working field.  Less expensive products that have a starch coating are less absorbent due to the hydrophobic properties. Cotton rolls which are 100% cotton are highly absorbent. This is due to the molecule structure of the cotton fiber which is categorized as having a high affinity for water, i.e hydrophilic.

  1. Comfort

The best type of cotton rolls are the cotton rolls which minimize patient trauma as a consequence of the cotton rolls adhering to the patient mucosa. Cotton rolls adhere to the mucosa because of the chemicals used in less expensive products, such as starch coatings. Removing cotton rolls from the patient when they have adhered to the mucosa can result in painful sloughing or ulcers in the patient’s oral cavity.

  1. Size Options

Having an option of different sizes of cotton rolls is beneficial as having the right size of cotton roll minimizes patient discomfort and maximizes access to the treatment area. For example, you would need a larger cotton roll for bleaching, full arch restorations and a smaller cotton roll for operative, routine procedures or pediatric patients.

  1. Flexibility

Cotton rolls need to have the ability to be flexible to adjust to the patient’s mouth, and have a secure fit into the buccal curvature and the sublingual space when necessary to maximize procedure efficiency and patient comfort.

So what type of cotton roll should I use?

  1. Standard

Standard cotton rolls are often a less expensive option for Oral Health professionals, as they have a starch coating. The consideration when using a starch coated product is that it can stick to the mucosa and cause painful sloughing or ulcers for the patient on removal.

  1. Wrapped

The difference between wrapped and standard cotton rolls is the absence of a starch coating. Wrapped cotton rolls are embedded with non-woven fabric sealed with FDA approved adhesive. They are also made from 100% cotton and will not stick to the mucosa as standard cotton rolls would. This makes wrapped cotton rolls a safer option for the patient and more comfortable.

Which type of cotton roll do you choose?

An Oral Health Professional should always take into consideration the quality of a cotton roll, regardless of the price point. However, if your surgery is looking at lower price point but high quality cotton rolls, wrapped cotton rolls are always the best option to go with due to their high durability, absorbency, flexibility and comfort.



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