The next time your patient makes a yuck face at you with the accusation that the stuff that just hit their tongue has the most awful flavor EVER, you need to be sure and come back to this blog to share your experience so that your offending dental material can be rated accordingly.
For now, you’ll have to settle for this Top Ten, which was created by someone who is so meticulous about isolation that they never (!) get complaints about the taste of the following products:
The Top Ten Worst-Tasting Dental Materials
10. Air polishing powder
Some people like the taste of baking soda, which is why this is at the high end of the list. Others, you’d think that you’d hit them with the entire Pacific Ocean with the way they wretch from the spray. Young Dental has one of the better products in this category. And most patients actually do prefer it to the grit of pumice prophy paste if an operator is good at managing an air polisher.
9. Impregum Penta impression material
Fortunately the second generation flavor is much better than the first. But what is with the aftertaste? It’s not like you can use a rubber dam when taking a full mouth impression.
8. Vizilite rinse
Sour flavors seem to go over worse than salty ones. And because this cancer-screening pre-rinse is essentially vinegar, you may get a dirty look right before you start checking for the dirty bombs that are cancer cells.
7. Jeltrate Plus
Yum. Unflavored alginate with a splash of antimicrobial quaternary ammonium compounds to give it a little bit of awkward je ne sais quoi.
6. Compounded tricaine topicals
This is like benzocaine on steroids. Because it is not available in a commercial formulation, you’ll have to have a pharmacy compound the gel for you. John Hollis Pharmacy whips up a pretty mean cocktail of lidocaine, prilocaine and tetracaine at a decent price. It tastes pretty bad, but when patients rave about your painless injections afterwards, you’ll want a tube of it in every operatory.
5. Parkell Mucohard relining material
Not only does it taste foul, it gets bonus points for heating up while it’s curing in your patient’s mouth. This PDF from Parkell even cautions against leaving the patient alone for fear of spontaneous combustion.
Even a few drops of the local anesthetic inadvertently dripped onto the back of the tongue will make your patient want to chew through the stainless steel of your syringe. Be careful or else you will be switching back to lidocaine.
3. Viscostat hemostasis gel
Great for getting a lot of bleeding under control. Unless that bleeding is on the tongue. Then, not so great. Ultradent has addressed this notoriety by bathing their latest Viscostat with mint flavor ribbons. But I’m sure you can still taste the caustic astringency that would make bleeding to death not seem so bad.
2. The goo under a loose crown that you just removed
Can we all gross out at this one for a moment? And hahahahaha, they can’t blame this flavor on you. Which brings us to:
1. RelyX Unicem cement
Stag-nasty payback for that loose crown you just had to smell. RelyX gives you the ultimate in sourness and bitterness that lasts and lasts (but so does the bond).
Why more dental product manufacturers don’t try to mask the noxious flavors inherent in their materials is a question that can’t be easily answered with chemistry or economics. If you’re not one to wait on this development, let your patients choose the flavor of their next crown seat or impression tray instead by carefully slipping them a few drops of one of these flavoring agents that are especially created for that purpose.
And when you ask your patient how everything tasted, they can honestly tell you it was just peachy. Or grapey, their choice.
Now it’s your turn. Which materials taste the worst to your patients? Leave a comment below to cast your vote.