Dental Innovator: What gives 3M ESPE the cutting edge in product development [VIDEO]

July 16, 2013

“We maximize and optimize the benefits dentists are getting from each product...”

“We maximize and optimize the benefits dentists are getting from each product...”

Q: We’re so used to hearing about major materials launches from 3M ESPE that the recent launch of Sof-Lex™ Spiral Finishing and Polishing Wheels definitely grabbed our editors’ attention.

How does a product like this demonstrate the type of innovation we’ve come to expect from 3M ESPE?

A: One of the advantages in working at 3M ESPE is that we are part of 3M as a whole, which gives us access to experts in more than 40 core technologies. We are able to utilize technology, expertise and products from other divisions and incorporate modifications to better suit our customers.

The new Sof-Lex spiral wheels are a great example of that. This technology was adapted from spiral-shaped wheel products produced by the 3M Abrasives Systems Division, which were originally sold for polishing metal in industrial and jewelry applications. Once our team realized the potential of these spiral wheels for dentistry, we used our voice-of-customer research to guide modifications to the product and make it into an effective and safe tool for dentists.

Q: Sof-Lex™ spiral wheels are now part of a greater 3M ESPE Restorative Procedure Solution that includes Filtek™ Supreme Ultra Universal Restorative and Scotchbond™ Universal Adhesive. How do you see this “system” approach benefitting the dentist?

A: As a manufacturer, we do extensive testing of our products together to prove their efficacy. This is inherent in the new product development process, regardless of whether we’re developing a finishing and polishing device or an adhesive. That ensures our adhesives work with our composites and our composites work with our finishing and polishing systems.

We maximize and optimize the benefits dentists are getting from each product and the entire system. This allows us to have the highest confidence in restorations placed with all 3M ESPE products. Additionally, we periodically repeat this testing especially if changes are made in raw materials or manufacturing processes. Because we do not know what other manufacturers are doing, we therefore don’t know when updated testing is needed with products outside our system.

Q: Many doctors are either insecure or skeptical about changing their procedure style. Fewer steps may sound good, but can it really deliver the same quality?

A: That’s a really good question that we encourage doctors to ask, because fewer steps are not always better. But in this particular case, when you look at the fact that some doctors are using in excess of 10 different tools in order to finish and polish their restorations, this streamlined system can be a great benefit.

Once you’ve shaped the restoration and refined the margins using burs and diamonds, you simply use the beige spiral finishing wheel to remove the scratches and then the white spiral polishing wheel to polish it to a high gloss shine. You no longer need to go through the different shapes or the variety of tools you may have used in the past.

Q: The versatility of the Sof-Lex spiral wheels certainly seems to be a benefit. How do the materials in this solution - Filtek Supreme Ultra Universal Restorative and Scotchbond Universal adhesive - offer versatility?

A: The fact that Filtek Supreme Ultra universal restorative is available in such a wide range of shades and opacities gives dentists a lot of

flexibility in how they use it, whether they want to layer shades for customization.

As for the adhesive, Scotchbond Universal adhesive truly lives up to the “universal” in its name. It’s a one-bottle system that can be used in all techniques and on all surfaces for a durable bond for direct and indirect restorations.

Direct Procedure solution

Sof-Lex™ Spiral Finishing and Polishing Wheels

Sof-Lex Spiral finishing and polishing wheels provide dentists with a more versatile and easy-to-use alternative to traditional points, cups, discs, and brushes. Incorporating flexible spiral “fingers,” the finishing and polishing wheels conform to convex and concave surfaces as they traverse the restoration, preventing the need to switch shapes mid-procedure to fit different contours.

Additionally, 3M ESPE has embedded the wheels with abrasive particles that provide effective dental finishing from any side – top, bottom or edge.

Filtek™ Supreme Ultra Universal Restorative

Designed with nanofiller technology to offer optimal strength and esthetics - excellent polish and better polish retention than a microfill - Filtek Supreme Ultra nanocomposite is also easy to use: exceptional handling; color-coded by opacity; and bold, easy-to-read labels. The restorative features improved fluorescence in a wide range of shades and opacities.

Scotchbond™ Universal Adhesive

Scotchbond™ Universal Adhesive is a combined Total-Etch, Self-Etch and Selective-Etch adhesive that offers consistent bond strength to both moist and dry etched dentin with virtually no post-op sensitivity.

Its one-step, one-coat adhesive application is effective on all surfaces and provides high bond strength to all indirect surfaces (zirconia, alumina, glass ceramics and metals) without a separate primer. It offers excellent marginal integrity for highly esthetic restorations and is both self- and dual-cure compatible.