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The Elite Dental Technologies from the Pride Institute's "Best of Class"

The final installment looks at the only six products to earn the distinct honor of being recognized by The Pride Institute as “Best of Class” multiple years in a row.
Dental Products Report
Mon, 2012-10-15 12:05 | Compiled by Thais Carter

Elite Education
A sampling of the courses and speakers featured during the Technology Expo at the ADA Annual Session in San Francisco, Oct. 18-21.

  • “Day-to-Day Technologies That Can Improve Your Practice” presented by John Flucke, DDS, Technology Editor of Dental Products Report
  • “How to Differentiate Your Practice Online From Your Competition” presented by Chuck Barton, Vice President of Search Control
  • “To Tweet or Not To Tweet: Managing Risks of Social Media Use in the Office” presented by Ali Oromchian, JD CEO, Co-Founder HR for Health
  • “Digital Restorative Dentistry – Are We There Yet?” presented by Parag Kachalia, DDS, Vice Chair: Simulation, Technology, and Research University of Pacific School of Dentistry
  • “The Social Media Rules of Engagement: Connecting with Past, Present and Prospective Patients” presented by Lou Shuman, DMD, Pres. of Pride Institute, Creator of the “Best of Class” Technology Initiative and ADA Pride Institute “Best of Class” Technology Expo
  • “New Marketing Musts: What Really Attracts and Retains Patients Through Online Strategies” presented by Amy Morgan, CEO of Pride Institute



The complete list of The Pride Institute "Best of Class" Technology award winners

Why 5 of The Pride Institute "Best of Class" Technology award winners stand out

Top Technologies Explained

An inside look at 4 more of The Pride Institute's "Best of Class" winners

The Pride Institute "Best of Class" panel explains why they chose this year's winners. This month features the only six products that have been recognized by the Pride Institute as "Best of Class" multiple years in a row.

July through October we highlighted a handful of the 18 Pride Institute "Best of Class" honorees leading up to the ADA Annual Session.

Interviews, education and hands-on demonstrations at the “Best of Class” Technology Fair at this month's ADA Annual Session in San Francisco will allow you to experience each product on your own and decide if it’s a good fit for your practice.

Air Techniques' Spectra
Air Techniques Spectra caries detection device features fluorescence technology that indicates the extent of decay with color and numerical readings, helping to eliminate the guess work for early caries detection.

With impressive, information-rich images, the technology is said to be a valuable tool in enhancing case acceptance. Early detection means more restoration and less excavation, and Spectra can be used during the actual caries removal process to ensure all carious dentin is removed.

Compatible with virtually any patient management software, Spectra connects to the computer with a USB cable and then lets dental professionals store and compare images over time to track the effects of treatment.

The Panelist’s Perspective:
Dr. Marty Jablow

Q: How did you find out about this product?
A: I have been using the product since its release.

Q: Describe the situations in which you’ve seen the product in use.
A: I use this product in my practice for caries detection and patient education.

Q: In light of the product’s performance in these situations, what, in your opinion, sets it apart in the industry?
A: Spectra is the only device that provides caries detection with a graphic overlay to assist in monitoring caries.

Q: If you had to summarize why a dentist should purchase this product or switch to this product, what would you highlight?
A: Through fluorescence technology the extent of decay is determined with color and numerical readings. This helps to eliminate the guesswork for early caries detection. The information-rich images enhance case acceptance by allowing the patient to see the weather radar like caries detection.

Align Technology's iTero
As one of the only scanner systems in the market to utilize parallel confocal imaging, the iTero system utilizes laser and optical scanning to capture the contours of the patient’s dentition, gingival structures and the bite. The scanner captures 100,000 points of laser light in perfect focus without the use of powder to coat the teeth which allows for contact of the wand and tooth, resulting in an accurate 3D digital impression – ready in just minutes for viewing on the screen.

The 3D digital model file can then be used for various procedures and services including milling of physical dental models for use by labs to create restorative units such as veneers, inlays, onlays, crowns, bridges, implant abutments and implant crowns; Invisalign digital impression submission; digital records storage; or orthodontic diagnosis and computer aided placement of traditional braces.

The iTero intraoral scanner consists of a mobile computer unit and scanning wand to scan and capture a patient’s dentition (full or partial dental arch). System software features include the eraser tool, edge trim tool, real-time modeling and option to submit scans for Invisalign treatment.

The iTero operates on an open architecture platform, providing doctors and labs with the ability to export custom and generic STL (stereolithography) files of their digital impression to use with other third party dental service providers. This allows the digital impression to integrate with cone beam CT images for implant and orthodontic treatment planning. Align provides in-office training on the system and features after the unit is delivered to the practice.

The Panelist’s Perspective:
Dr. Lou Shuman

Q: How did you find out about this product?
A: I have been watching the product evolve over the years at various trade shows.

Q: Describe the situations in which you’ve seen the product in use.
A: I have been given many private demonstrations as the software has evolved.

Q: In light of the product’s performance in these situations, what, in your opinion, sets it apart in the industry?
A:  iTero has set the standard for dedicated intraoral scanners. It has easy access to second molars and can be used with Invisalign for your orthodontic cases. Scanning can be accomplished in many cases in less time than waiting for impression material to set. In addition, the resulting .stl files an be used/integrated into any CBCT scan.

Q: If you had to summarize why a dentist should purchase this product or switch to this product, what would you highlight?
A: First of all, the device is very easy to use. Second, iTero gives a real time digital display along with its analytical tools to assist in locating issues such as inadequate preparation immediately, thus allowing prep alteration before the digital impression is sent to the laboratory. Third, you obtain an extremely accurate impression as compared to traditional impression materials which reduces insert appointment times and minimizes occlusal adjustments.

LED Dental Velscope VX
The VELscope Vx is LED Dental’s newest model release of the VELscope system. The VELscope Vx is cordless, compact and affordable—even for multiple operatories. A powerful tool available for assisting in the discovery of oral abnormalities, the unit’s distinctive blue-spectrum light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Healthy tissues fluoresce in distinctive patterns—patterns that are visibly disrupted by trauma or disease. Using the VELscope, a wide variety of oral abnormalities can be discovered—often before they’re visible to the unassisted eye—potentially saving lives through less invasive, more effective treatment.

Described as completely safe and simple to use, the VELscope Vx requires no unpleasant rinses or stains. The simple exam is said to take approximately two minutes.


The Panelist’s Perspective:
Dr. Parag Kachalia

Q: How did you find out about this product?
A: I first heard about VELscope nearly a decade ago at a trade show. The concept of enhancing our oral cancer examinations seemed great; however the older version of VELscope quite frankly was very costly to incorporate into the new practice I had just started. In addition the first generation required a fairly large footprint of space and portability between operatories was somewhat clunky. When VELscope Vx came out a couple of years ago I became very interested in the technology again.

Q: Describe the situations in which you’ve seen the product in use.
A: I personally use the product everyday in my practice. Essentially every patient that comes in for a recall visit into our practice has both a traditional oral cancer examination as well as an enhanced examination with VELscope Vx. We do charge a nominal annual fee ($15) for this examination; however very few individuals balk at the cost. The average doctor probably spends somewhere between 3-and-5-minutes on looking into the oral cavity on a recall examination and soft tissue lesions can easily be missed even with the best of intention. In our practice VELscope Vx is used to alert us to potential problem areas. The technology does not diagnose oral cancer rather it visually highlights areas that we must take a second look at it. When a patient does have a suspicious looking area we simply see them again in two weeks and check again. If the problem does not resolve we share our VELscope photos or our unit with our local oral surgeon who may choose to biopsy the area. By incorporating VELscope Vx into our practice it allows us to hopefully catch lesions when they are stage 1 and 2 versus stage 3 and 4. We have also found the technology useful in terms of finding sore spots that may be caused by removable prosthesis. Traditional pressure indicating paste can be hard to read at times; however areas that are being traumatized clearly show up under VELscope Vx.

Q: If you had to summarize why a dentist should purchase this product or switch to this product, what would you highlight?
A: A dentist should consider incorporating VELscope Vx because, first and foremost: it could help you save somebody’s life. Second, the product is very portable, so travel between operatories is simple. Third, most patients have no idea their doctor is even doing an oral cancer examination. By using the VELscope Vx your patients will know you are doing an examination and that you have invested in a technology to do an enhanced examination.

Sirona Dental Systems' CEREC with Bluecam
The CEREC AC with the CEREC Bluecam captures highly detailed images using a powerful blue light-emitting diode (LED). Rapid, easy imaging results in a quantum leap in CAD/CAM precision, clinical reliability and efficiency.

The high-precision lens system of the CEREC Bluecam sets a new standard in measurement accuracy and delivers an unprecedented level of precision. The high-performance diode emits blue light with a short wavelength. The resulting optical impressions are extremely accurate. This applies to single-tooth as well as multiple images.

Since it was featured as a winner in September of 2011, CEREC has continued to evolve. That same month, it released CEREC® Software 4.0, a major re-engineering of the platform, which is said to derive the full potential of the CEREC AC Acquisition unit and Bluecam imaging technology.

Enhancements include: multiple restoration design; the ability to work direct on the tooth; intuitive workflow; and streamlined restoration design. The software is designed to deliver increased productivity and efficiency. Older CEREC units can take full advantage of the software features as well.

More recently, at the CEREC 27.5 event this summer, Sirona launched the OmniCam, which continues the innovative leadership Sirona brings to this category.

The Panel Commentary
Digital impression systems are one of the most sought after high tech products and processes in dentistry today. Comparisons of the systems are sometimes rational with clinical testing and often emotional as each system seems to garner a passionate fan base. In reality all of the current systems have proven accuracy of the impressions and the technology. Two of them currently allow for practitioners to create restorations in one visit. CEREC and E4D have been jockeying back and forth to lead the race in restoration design and ease of use. The E4D software had a number of features, including easy design of multiple restorations, but at the time of our voting, CEREC had released version 4.0 which along with the speed of the MXL mill gave it an edge with our committee. As these companies watch the end users’ requests as well as each other’s improvements, they are constantly changing so it behooves the readers to watch all of the changes to make the most educated decision.

At press time, CEREC just introduced the new Omnicam. This acquisition unit which is powder free, full color and full motion capture has certainly put it in the front of the entire digital impression field. All of the other ELEVEN systems have certainly taken notice so only a guess will lead us to what is in store for 2013.

Orascoptic's Freedom
With the new Freedom, Orascoptic has developed the industry’s first light system that does not employ belt-packs, long electrical cables or buttons. The differentiating features of the Freedom system include:

Lightweight battery pods that connect to the temple arms of the loupe, rather than heavy belt-packs employed by traditional LED systems. Moving power to the loupe itself eliminates the issue with long dangling electrical cords that are prone to getting caught on chairs, doorknobs and cabinets in the dental office; a robust yet simple universal mounting clip securely fastens the lightweight headlight to virtually any TTL loupe on the market; Capacitive touch technology eliminates the need for any buttons, knobs or switches, but more importantly, allows the practitioner to control the light while holding instruments in both hands. Capacitive touch also eliminates bacteria traps associated with traditional light system controls, making the Freedom easy to disinfect and maintain; weight-neutralizing counter-balance between the battery pods and the headlight relieves forward pressure on the nose.

The Panelist’s Perspective:
Dr. John Flucke

Q:  How did you first find out about this product?
A: I first saw the Orascoptic Freedom as a prototype at the ADA meeting in Orlando in the fall of 2010. I was immediately blown away by a light system that was truly cordless and helped balance the weight of the surgical telescopes on my nose.

Q:  Describe the situations in which you’ve seen the product in use.
A: I have been using the Freedom system in my practice since April 2011. I have found it to be well balanced, easy to use and a great way to increase my field of view. The light has been a regular part of my treatment protocol for about 18 months.

Q:  In light of the product’s performance in these situations, what, in your opinion, sets it apart in the industry?
A:  The best part about the Freedom is its self-contained battery system that eliminates a cord and battery pack that the user must wear on the waist. The batteries are contained in “paddles” that are actually attached to the glasses. This helps make the system easier to put on, and the weight of the batteries actually helps decrease the weight of the glasses on the user’s nose.

Q:  If you had to summarize why a dentist should purchase this product or switch to this product, what three reasons would you highlight?  
A: The balanced weight is really nice. If you are using high magnification, the weight on your nose isn’t negligible, but the Freedom helps balance that. It is also nice that there are no cords or battery packs to bother with.

Kerr Corp.'s SonicFill
SonicFill is described as the only easy-to-use, sonic-activated, bulk fill composite system for posterior restorations that requires no additional capping layer. Proprietary sonic activation enables a rapid flow of composite into the cavity for effortless placement and optimal adaptation. It’s that fast, easy and effective­­­—greatly reducing procedure time. Now you can go from placement to a polished restoration in less than 3 minutes on cavities up to 5mm in depth. SonicFill Advantages include: effortless placement; optimal adaptation; easy contouring without stickiness; no need for 2mm incremental layering; no final capping layer required; and 20-second full depth of cure.

The Panelist’s Perspective:
Dr. Marty Jablow

Q: How did you find out about this product?
A: I had the benefit of seeing SonicFill through part of the development process and it’s commercial release.

Q: Describe the situations in which you’ve seen the product in use.
A: I use this product in my practice for single bulk fill placement of posterior composite restorations.

Q: In light of the product’s performance in these situations, what, in your opinion, sets it apart in the industry?
A: SonicFill makes placing posterior composite restorations a pleasure. You can normally place (up to 5mm) composite in a single increment. SonicFill uniquely combines the attributes of flowable and a universal composite. By activating the composite with sonic energy, fill and adapt at low viscosity, then press and sculpt at high viscosity.

Q: If you had to summarize why a dentist should purchase this product or switch to this product, what would you highlight?
A: SonicFill provides for fast composite placement with a single step filling for up to 5mm increments. The composite has great adaptation with low shrinkage so there is no sensitivity. Carving the composite is easy as the sonic energy decreases the viscosity of the composite increases making placement of anatomy into the restoration simple.