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Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Dental Lab Products. He is also the author of 18 technology books, including the award-winning Green IT: Reduce Your Information System's Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line. As such, he’s particularly interested in the technological side of dentistry.
One dentist’s take on this flavored fluoride varnish from Ultradent.
Ultradent’s enamelast is a flavored fluoride varnish. It is nearly invisible when applied properly and employs a patented adhesion-promoting agent for enhanced retention, providing fluoride release and uptake. It is available in four flavors in either unit-dose or syringe application.
We talked with Dr. Sam Halabo, DMD, a general and cosmetic dentist in San Diego, California, about Enamelast, how it is used, for whom it is best indicated and his overall thoughts on the product.
Tell us a little about Enamelast. What is it, exactly?
This is a fluoride varnish that does a number of things for the teeth. It releases fluoride and has great release and uptake of fluoride for the teeth. It has a couple of great features that give it benefits over its competitors. It has a great texture to it. A lot of these other varnishes tend to be gritty, which can be disliked by patients.
Also, it’s almost invisible in appearance. Some of the other varnishes in the market tend to be really white and chalky and don’t look very good. Patients complain, as they walk out of the office, that they have to have this material on their teeth for a long time when they are trying to return to their daily routines.
Enamelast tends to have excellent adhesion to the tooth surface, which is great, because other fluoride varnishes out there tend to stick to the lips and other parts of the mouth very easily. Since it stays on the tooth much better, it will typically work better for a longer period of time.
This material also has some great flavors. There are four different flavors; we stick to two in our office. We use Cool Mint for the adults, and kids tend to prefer the Bubble Gum flavor. There is also Orange Cream and Walterberry. Enamelast is xylitol sweetened and it has 5 percent sodium fluoride in it.
How long have you used Enamelast?
We’ve been using it for close to year. We’ve gone through a few different varnishes, and different hygienists like different things, but we’ve all kind of settled in on this one now.
Are there some patients for whom Enamelast is better indicated?
I think treating kids who are more caries susceptible with varnish is an excellent idea. Also, any adults who have exposed root surfaces or that do have caries problems are great candidates. A good portion of the adults in our office are treated with varnish, especially those who have exposed root surfaces.
Enamelast is also good for patients in orthodontic treatment. Many kids and adults will benefit greatly from varnish while wearing their brackets.
Are there any other features that set Enamelast apart from other varnishes?
It’s got a really good flouride release and uptake. What that means is the fluoride gets released in a fast manner, and then it’s pulled into the tooth fairly quickly. They’ve actually done some tests, and the results of the tests showed Enamelast had some of the best release and uptake into the tooth. The most important part for our office is the fact that it tastes good for the patients and it has great benefits for them. Our hygienists like placing it and they get great feedback from the patients, compared to other brands we have used in the past.
What is the application process?
They have a syringe and a unit-dose. We tend to use the unit-dose in my office because it’s just cleaner and simpler. Basically, you open the package, there is a brush and a little well of the material. So, you actually take the brush, dip it into the well, and then you’re going in and painting it on. On kids, you’ll paint it on as many places that won’t gag them. On adults, anywhere you have exposed root surfaces. So, you’re going around and hitting all the parts that are susceptible to decay.
In the past year or so that you’ve been using Enamelast, what has been your impression?
The number one indicator tends to be patient satisfaction. The patients are happy with the material, which means we can apply it. Secondarily, I have noticed a difference or an improvement in some of my patients who are more susceptible to caries.
One of the places we had issues in the past was some patients would say “no” to fluorite varnish, because they didn’t like it sticking to their lips or they didn’t like the way it looked chalky. Enamelast tends to eliminate a lot of those issues. It’s got a really nice, smooth texture; it’s close to being invisible when you place it on. A lot of negatives with patients are being removed by the use of this material.