Matrix Systems CATEGORY DESCRIPTION
A dental matrix system provides a “temporary wall” during the restoration process in Class II, Class III, and Class IV preparations. A matrix system employs devices and tools to restore proximal tooth contours to normal shape and function. These include rings; metal or plastic bands to confine the restorative material; mechanical retainers to hold the matrix band in place; wedges to position the matrix band firmly against the gingival margin of the preparation; and tools to restore proximal tooth contours to normal shape and function.
When posterior composite resin materials were introduced in the ’80s, with them came a set of problems unique to these new restorations, which have better esthetic appeal than amalgam. Placing posterior composites is more challenging than working with amalgam, with the possibility of open contacts or margins and incorrectly contoured restorations. New matrix systems, however, have resulted in more ideal placement of restorations. The newer composite materials are stiffer and have less wear, and hold their shape and seal proximal boxes better.
Along with newer matrix systems, the Tofflemire system is still widely used because of its ease in restoring three or more surface preparations. But now, for instance, bands are available in a range of heights, thicknesses, and materials.
There are a variety of matrix systems: posterior, sectional, cervical, anterior, traditional Tofflemire-style, retainerless Tofflemire–style, and automatrix. Improvements in materials and styles in matrix systems have resulted in simpler and more refined restorations.
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