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This Product Test Drive showcases how OMNICHROMA Flow from Tokuyama Dental makes achieving esthetic success easier than ever.
When it comes to composites, the times they are a-changin’! It’s so exciting to be a restorative dentist right now. We are seeing lots of evolution in how we deal with our esthetic bonded restorations, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way things are headed.
A couple of years ago, I was fortunate enough to have been chosen to help with the evaluation and testing of Tokuyama Dental’s then brand-new composite, OMNICHROMA. The material was a huge evolutionary step forward and continues to impress in today’s environment.
For younger practitioners reading this, I was unlucky enough to practice in a time before the invention of flowable composite. I still remember when I had lunch one day with a friend in dental sales. Flowable composite had been on the market about 2 years at that point, and I remember him saying, “Flowable is like the duct tape of dentistry!”
I laughed so hard I almost choked on my iced tea. Like any good piece of comedy, it was funny because there was a lot of truth to the statement.
For those of us who practiced before the age of flowables, many things were much more difficult to accomplish. Minimally invasive preparations practically were invented by the physics of flowable composites. They also allowed for easy margin repairs of existing composites, conservative Class III preparations, and the easiest way to complete Class V restorations.
When OMNICHROMA came along, it rocked the dental world, but doctors were still forced to go to traditional shade matching when they needed a “duct tape” solution. Basically, the market was begging for a “one composite, any shade” solution—and Tokuyama just delivered with OMNICHROMA Flow.
I love the tagline that Tokuyama created to go with the OMNICHROMA brand: “Every shade. One choice.” It gets the point across succinctly, and it’s true. Traditional shaded composites use dyes and pigments to change the color of the material. However, this means that shades can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and within individual batches from the same manufacturer.
Instead of pigments and dyes, OMNICHROMA Flow relies on the same technology as regular OMNICHROMA. The shade matching is provided by an amazing supra-nano filler particle. This “tiny” particle does something truly amazing. Tokuyama has created a technology that allows them to produce these particles in a perfect spherical shape. This shape lets the ambient light that strikes the composite be uniformly spread out, which allows the light to pick up and transfer the shade of the surrounding tooth structure back into the OMNICHROMA Flow.
In the simplest (and zen) terms, OMNICHROMA Flow allows the tooth to provide its own shade. This is what allows the composite to basically “melt” into the preparation with practically invisible margins. Whether the tooth being restored is A-1 or D-4, the light-transferring physics of OMNICHROMA Flow allow the material to match and blend, yielding spectacular esthetic results.
Another great thing about spherical particles is evident in the polishing phase: Spheres are much easier to polish. All flowables use a mixture of resin and filler particles. In other flowables, these filler particles are randomly shaped and appear like microscopic pieces of gravel in scanning electron microscope images. Think of it as trying to polish a marble or a bowling ball versus trying to polish a randomly shaped piece of stone. The spherical fillers of OMNICHROMA products provide an incredible substrate to polish against, and frequently, polishing isn’t even necessary.
Inventory control in the office changes from “How much of each color do we have?’’ to “How much OMNICHROMA Flow do we have?” When you have one material that matches every clinical situation, your inventory control is greatly simplified. This makes it easy for the dentist and incredibly simple for whoever is in charge of the restorative inventory. Only needing 1 of something is always easier than needing lots of other things.
There is also the efficiency that comes with clinical usage of only 1 product. The duct tape analogy comes into play again here. The joy of having a terrific flowable composite in your armamentarium is the number of clinical uses the product provides. Reaching for only 1 flowable for every conceivable clinical situation makes procedures more efficient and less stressful. You also take away the need for shade matching and the potential extra time required to correct the esthetics in cases where a shaded composite doesn’t properly match—which is normally not discovered until after it is polymerized.
Another benefit of the “single shade for every tooth” concept is that you will never experience a case in which you ask your assistant for a specific shade of composite only to find that you used the last bit of that shade earlier in the day or that it’s back-ordered from your dealer. As we all know, Murphy’s Law is alive and well in a dental practice, so anything you can do to keep Mr Murphy at bay is well worth the effort.
For years now, the profession has worked hard to help make adhesive dentistry more predictable. Companies have improved their composites in many ways. We have overcome problems such as long curing times, polymerization shrinkage, polishability, stain resistance, and more.
Now, with the introduction of OMNICHROMA Flow, we have finally entered the realm of one composite for any clinical situation that requires a flowable composite. I salute Tokuyama Dental for their hard work and dedication in bringing this product to our profession. It is truly impressive.