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There are lots of things I love about my job at Dental Products Report. I get to meet incredibly bright and driven people, I get to travel to meetings that allow me to see the latest and greatest in our great profession, and I get to test and experiment with the products and gear that will be available to my readers in the next year or two.
Every year, I am lucky enough to get a chance to work with (and sometimes troubleshoot or even break) new products that are in development. The best of those products then end up in this article, which the magazine has chosen to call Flucke’s Top 5 Test Drives.
Most dentists are now working with some type of magnification. However, the surgical telescopes we now wear have one limitation and that is a fixed degree of magnification. Once you put them on, you see everything in the field at whatever level of magnification you specified at purchase. Now what if you could change that magnification level at will? That is the idea behind the Eye Zoom. The barrels of the telescopes can be turned and that causes the magnification level to change. The scopes can be adjusted from 3.0x to 5.0x, allowing a field of view that varies between viewing a quadrant and viewing two teeth. I began working with a prototype of the system in May and was soon hooked. I think you will be hooked too.
These two devices are electric handpiece systems. The iOptima is for restorative and endo, while the iChiropro is for implants. What makes these handpiece systems so amazing is that they interface with an iPod (iOptima) and an iPad (iChiropro). The ability to interface with a portable computing platform means that the handpieces are totally programmable. They are run by apps which allows parameters such as torque, rpm speed, etc., to be determined by the manufacturer of a bur, endo file, implant, etc. If a new implant or endo file comes to market, those products and their specifications are added to the app. When that product is selected in the app, those parameters are controlled by the iPod or iPad and everything runs exactly as the manufacturer specified. The ability to have a continually updated handpiece is “outside the box” thinking and makes these handpieces game changers.
This is a very cool idea that literally applies rocket science to your dental units. As we all know, it is important to keep the dental unit water lines as clean as possible. Most offices are now using self-contained systems where the water is supplied through a bottle. The usual protocol is to put a tablet in the bottle that dissolves and helps kill bacteria. DentaPure is a filter that attaches to the water line inside the bottle. As water passes through the DentaPure cartridge, it is purified using iodinated resin beads that kills bacteria. This technology was developed by NASA to ensure water consumed in space is free of bacteria, viruses and other harmful organisms. There is no risk of allergic reaction, the cartridge is easy to install and it lasts for a year.
In January, I began working with the DEXIS CariVu device. The CariVu is a visual caries detection system that connects to the operatory computer via USB. It uses an Infrared beam of light that penetrates the tooth from the buccal and lingual and illuminates the clinical crown. The device functions in a similar way to an intraoral camera. By that I mean, the device provides a live image of the transilluminated tooth on the computer monitor showing a crystal clear image in black and white. The transillumination causes healthy tooth structure to appear white and carious areas to appear gray or black, similar to a radiograph. Caries can be seen around and under resin restorations, and cracks are remarkably visible. The device requires DEXIS software and the software can compare CariVu images with the most recent radiographs of the same area. Contact DEXIS for a demo.
I’ve mentioned before that we battle counter space, or “Countertop Real Estate” as I call it, to accommodate all of our countertop equipment. This is especially true when performing endodontic therapy. To help solve this problem, Ultradent Products Inc. has released an Electronic Apex Locator (EAuL) called “Endo-Eze FIND.” The device is about the size of a credit card and the thickness of perhaps a stack of three or four credit cards. It has a very clear and easy to read color LCD screen and is battery powered. I have found the FIND to be easy to use and very, very accurate. If you perform endo in your practice, need a great apex locator, and want to give yourself plenty of counter space, call your Ultradent sales representative and have him or her bring the FIND by your office for a demonstration. I think you’ll be impressed.
Related reading: The top 10 most-read articles of 2014
So there you have it, my Top 5 Test Drives of 2014. I love testing and researching products and I hope you find some value in my efforts. Here’s hoping that 2015 shows just as much innovation. Somehow I think 2015 will be even better!
About the author
John Flucke, DDS, is Technology Editor for Dental Products Report and dentistry’s “Technology Evangelist.” He practices in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and has followed his passions for both dentistry and technology to become a respected speaker and clinical tester of the latest in dental technology, with a focus on things that provide better care and better experiences for patients. He blogs about technology and life at blog.denticle.com