The Problem

Interproximal Sites are More Susceptible to Decay

Interproximal caries is a growing problem that has traditionally lacked appropriate preventive treatment options. The relatively high incidence of primary and secondary interproximal caries can be attributed to the failure of current home care and professional preventive agents from reaching these surfaces adequately. As a result, approximately 18% of interproximal surfaces develop caries. Additionally, 40% of healthy coronal tooth structure may require removal for access to a minimal inaccessible amount of decay.

Why are Interproximal Caries so Prevalent?

Inadequate Patient Compliance

  • Effective flossing requires good and sustained patient compliance
  • Flossing is not fully effective on natural tooth surfaces which are microscopically rough

Ineffective Preventive Methods

  • Penetration of active agents is significantly poorer in the interproximal space, due to:
    • Negative pressure between teeth called isocaps
    • Inadequate wetting of surfaces
    • Disadvantageous surface tension properties
    • Unfavorable viscosity values
  • Preventive sealants are not recommended between the teeth with intact enamel

Interproximal sites that are not submerged in saliva form capillaries called isocaps, which are similar to water between two glass slides (O'Brien 1978). These isocaps induce a negative pressurized micro environment which restricts the flow of therapeutic and preventive agents such as fluoride into interproximal sites.