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AdDent Keeps Delivering “Better Mousetraps”

Feature
Article
Dental Products ReportDental Products Report June 2024
Volume 58
Issue 6

The industry is fortunate to have many great minds developing products and techniques that help clinicians perform better dentistry.

AdDent’s Compex HD features a warming unit built into the barrel that heats the composite compule in the gun. | Image Credit: © AdDent

AdDent’s Compex HD features a warming unit built into the barrel that heats the composite compule in the gun. | Image Credit: © AdDent

In my years of being Technology Evangelist, I have gotten to work with some amazing products and collaborate with some amazing people. As an industry, we are lucky to have these individuals in the world of research and development. We count on them to deliver us state-of-the-art tools, supplies, and materials that allow us to do better in helping patients.

Dentistry is a huge industry. Because of that, we benefit immensely from all types of companies that support us. Large multinational companies, medium-sized operations, and smaller companies provide us with things we use every day that improve the lives of our patients. As a tech lover, I see and use the benefits of all types of their hard work. This month, I would like to highlight one of those smaller companies that gives us big benefits. That company is AdDent in Danbury, Connecticut.

Outside the Box
The company was founded by Josh Friedman, DDS. He is one of those individuals who quietly work behind the scenes, but we all benefit from what he has created. I do not remember the first time I met him, but what I do remember was realizing he is an “outside the box” thinker.

One of his great advantages is that he is a dentist. That allows him to understand the unique things we face clinically every day. However, he is not just a dentist. This bright individual is also an electrical engineer with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering that he earned at City College of New York in 1959. After earning his degree, he embarked on a career that spanned working on intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) guidance systems, being a research scientist at the New York University College of Dentistry, and founding 3 companies: Demetron Research Corp, the first company to introduce an efficient handheld curing light; Electro-Lite Corp, a manufacturer of powerful UV lighting systems for industrial use; and his current company, AdDent.

Those of you practicing in the late 1990s probably remember the Demetron curing lights that were incredibly popular then. After selling Demetron to a large dental manufacturing company in the early 2000s, Dr Friedman’s next dental manufacturing company was AdDent, which he continues to run today.

I mentioned that he is an “outside the box” thinker and that is borne out by the fact that he hasover 30 patents with more pending. He has also been given the moniker “the da Vinci of dentistry” due to his creative problem-solving. He has a real knack for developing “better mousetraps” for the profession.

I recently asked him about his time working on missiles, and this is what he had to say: “My first job out of engineering school was with a company that made the guidance system for the Atlas ICBM…precursor to the Minuteman missile. These missiles are in silos throughout the West and Midwest. I was then faced with an urgent and unusual challenge—to find out why the guidance memory was defective. In the event of a launch, the ICBMs could go anywhere. It turned out that the epoxy coating on the memory boards was shrinking during polymerization and causing critical components to crack. As I reflect on that experience, I think of how directly it relates to dentistry in the way we formulate and manage composite filling materials to reduce shrinkage.”

Bridging the Gaps
After solving the problem with polymerization shrinkage on missile guidance systems, he applied those lessons learned and his problem-solving skills toward the issues with composite shrinkage in dentistry. That led him to become a leading advocate of warming composite before placement and curing to help reduce polymerization shrinkage. When the curing light is applied, composite has a natural tendency to shrink, which can lead to cracks in the healthy tooth structure as well as gaps in the restorative margin. This leads to recurrent caries. Studies have shownwarm composite has fewer voids and less marginal gap formation.

Under his guidance, AdDent developed the Calset Composite Warmer. This is a device that uses alternating current power to warm the material before placement. It consists of a base that creates heat as well as a variety of trays that can be placed on top of the base to warm things such as composite compules, composite syringes, operative instruments, anesthetic cartridges, and even veneers and crowns (to warm them before final cementation).

Compex HD
Not resting on the laurels of Calset, AdDent decided to take composite warming to the next level and recently created the Compex HD, a composite-dispensing gun. Most companies sell composite-dispensing guns, but they are usually throw-in products made of inexpensive plastic that do not work very well.

AdDent’s Compex HD has a warming unit built into the barrel that heats the composite compule in the gun. You place the compule in the gun, push the “on” button, and in 30 seconds the compule is heated to 155 °F. The heating element is under the compule and well insulated so that any part that touches the patient stays cool. Once activated, the device continues to warm the composite for 10 minutes before automatically shutting off. It has a rechargeable battery that allows use with 100 compules before needing a recharge.

I use total etch as my go-to technique, so in my workflow, we activate the Compex HD as I begin to place the etchant. By the time I get ready to deliver the restorative, the material is warmed and ready. In addition to less shrinkage, warm composite is easier to place, condense, and sculpt. This device is intrinsic to how I work and is now something I cannot do without.

Vac-Tak
The latest creation from the mind of Dr Friedman is another interesting and “better mousetrap” problem-solver. In clinical dentistry we are often faced with handling and manipulating small objects that require a sturdy grip as we place them. Veneers and crowns can be small and delicate. When you factor in the luting materials, these can be difficult to hold and place.

In the past I would tell patients, “If, God forbid, I drop this in your mouth, don’t be polite. Spit this out and don’t worry about my reaction. Even if it hits the floor, we can clean it, but if you swallow it, we aren’t going to go looking for it.” That usually elicits a chuckle, so I explain, “The glue we use works incredibly well, but it has the viscosity of maple syrup and the coefficient of friction of baby oil. If I happen to get some on my glove, these things get really slippery, and it may slip out of my fingers.” Although it is a decent way of letting patients know not to swallow anything, it is also a conversation I would rather not have.

To the rescue comes the Vac-Tak. It is a small handle with a suction cup that attaches to it. The suction cup is moistened and used to pick up the prosthesis. Once attached, the luting material is placed, then the Vac-Tak is used to deliver the prosthesis onto the tooth. Once the prosthesis is seated, it is tack-cured and the Vac-Tak removed.

The process is quick, simple, and efficient. The device has 2 sizes of silicone suction cups and I have not come across a crown or veneer that I cannot attach. Both the handle and the suction cups are autoclavable.

Placing a crown on a maxillary second molar is one of the trickiest things I must do. Despite my best efforts, I often get a tiny bit of the luting material on a finger and suddenly the crown is sliding around in my grip like a wet marble. The Vac-Tak has solved that problem as well as the stress that comes with it.

Wrapping Up
AdDent makes much more than the products I have mentioned here. The company sells a variety of products, including a very good oral cancer screening light called the Bio/Screen. To see all their products, visit www.addent.com.

In a letter to scientist Robert Hooke in 1675, Sir Isaac Newton wrote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” As a profession, we in dentistry stand on the shoulders of many giants. We are lucky to have “outside the box” thinkers in our industry.

In my time as Technology Evangelist, I have been lucky enough to meet many of them. As clinicians in the trenches every day, we often do not realize the contributions that many of our own have given us. We truly see farther because of them. I am excited to see what Dr Friedman comes up with next.

See you next issue.


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