Wedging is an essential part of restorative
dentistry: their main use is for adapting a matrix
band to the proximal part of a cavity. They have
a number other uses which will be considered
There are many types and sizes of dental
wedge. Originally made of sycamore wood, they
are now available in a variety of plastics, with
customised designs for different situations.
Use the largest wedge that fits. This is especially
important when the space between the teeth is wide.
The wedge should not encroach towards the contact area: this
will deform the matrix and leave a large approximal gap under
the contact point.
In areas of difficult anatomy (eg: canine groove on
mesial aspect of Upper 1st premolars) more than
one wedge may be required to seal cavity.
Wedges used during preparation improve
visibility, accurate cavity assessment, and caries
removal. Some wedge designs are especially
effective for haemostasis, by exerting pressure
on the papilla.
Consequences of poor wedge technique
Amalgam condensation requires high
packing forces if it is going to be adequate.
These forces will always push amalgam
beyond the matrix unless it is wedged,
Overhangs will often (but not always) result
in periodontal disease (+ bone loss), and
Accidents can happen both when a practitioner is
inexperienced, and when (over-) confident of their
The wedge in this radiograph had encroached
towards the contact area, leaving a poor
contour. This results in food packing and plaque