The American Dental Association’s 2023 SmileCon event did not draw large crowds, but there were still plenty of exciting things happening during the event in Orlando.
It is hard to cover the recent American Dental Association (ADA) SmileCon event without noting the light attendance in the exhibit hall throughout the event. There was plenty of action in the exhibit hall with multiple educational stages and self-guided continuing education opportunities, but unfortunately, the space never felt full, busy, or energetic.
But, even if there were not large numbers of excited dental professionals on hand, there was still new products worth checking out, and speakers and key opinion leaders on hand to and answer questions and connect with colleagues.
New Products of Note:
When it comes to discovering innovative new dental products, the SmileCon 2023 exhibit hall was a worthwhile visit. There were companies showing off new solutions for every part of a dental practice. Here are some of the highlights we saw at the show in Orlando.
NSK Dental was showing off their powerful new Ti-Max Z990L highspeed handpiece which can produce up to 44 W of cutting power. The air-driven handpiece is designed for efficient removal of zirconia and other materials, adding efficiency to procedures and reducing discomfort for patients.
While developing the “Dynamic Power System” for this new handpiece through fluid simulation software, NSK was able to dramatically increase the power, but this also required a re-engineered chuck to hold the burs stable at higher torque. For this the Ti-Max Z990L is equipped with the new, proprietary Durapower Chuck.
Along with these features the new handpiece includes a range of features designed to make operations safer for clinicians and patients, and to make maintenance and repair easier and faster.
A trio of new Listerine formulations also made their debut at SmileCon 2023. The new Listerine Clinical Solutions mouthwash line features three distinct formulations designed to meet specific patient needs.
Featuring 67% more zinc than other Listerine zinc product, the Listerine Clinical Solutions Gum Health mouthwash is designed to promote a healthy oral microbiome. Michael Lynch, DMD, PhD, Global Director, Oral Care Scientific Engagement at Kenvue, says he’s most excited about the potential of this mouthwash formula, especially for patients who are not able to properly floss.
The Listerine Clinical Solutions Teeth Strength mouthwash is formulated to provide up to 7 times the fluoride uptake of other mouthwashes. The mouthwash features Rapid Fusion Technology® which binds calcium ions with fluoride to create reservoirs that can help increase tooth strength by three times compared with brushing alone.
Finally, the new Listerine Clinical Solutions Breath Defense mouthwash can neutralize the causes of bad breath for as long as 24 hours when used twice daily. The formulation features zinc, essential oils, and additional odor reducing technology designed to kill bacteria responsible for the production of bad odors. All 3 formulations are designed to be a part of a targeted homecare routine for patients, and Dr Lynch says they can be used as tools to help patients prevent potential oral health issues through improved care between dental treatments.
A forthcoming innovation on display at SmileCon, the Reva system from MedTekk is a new, sustainable approach to wipes that is expected to launch before the end of the year. Reva appears to be a common touch-free paper towel dispenser, but the system is designed to dispense either dry towels or wet wipes filled with a disinfectant or cleaning liquid.
Reva makes infection control more sustainable because standard wipes contain plastics and do not biodegrade. Using the Reva system allows practices to use paper wipes for all purposes, reducing the amount of non-biodegradable material a practice produces. The wipes are LEED compliant sustainable towels made of organic cellulose fibers.
The system uses a refillable reservoir for the fluid used to provide wet wipes. This allows practices to continuing using the infection control materials they are comfortable with while reducing the amount of plastic waste being produced.
Technology Always in Focus
The event might not have always been bustling, but that also meant people had more time for substantive conversations. Dental Products Report was able to catch up with Eric Kukucka who is pushing digital dentures forward in his role as vice president of clinical removable & design technologies for Aspen Dental.
While providing an update on the technology transforming how Aspen is creating dentures, Kukucka notes that while Aspen Dental produces more than 500,000 dentures a year, most young dentists graduate from dental school having only produced a handful of dentures while earning their degree. This gap between patient demand and clinical experience is where technology is critical, and Kukucka says Aspen is employing digital production workflows, while simultaneously providing dentists with hands-on training.
By using the efficiencies of digital production, Aspen is able to meet patient needs, and can even replace a patient’s dentures from any Aspen Dental location. However, these benefits cannot be fully realized without combining them with training for the clinicians in both producing high quality dentures, and explaining the benefits their patients.
For Kukucka, success in this area is a moving target. Both the technology available to dental professionals and the expectations patients bring to a dental appointment are changing, and practices of all sizes must be able to adapt and continue to find new and better ways of providing the care patients want and need.
One area he is excited about is artificial intelligence (AI). Kukucka says this technology can save time and automate processes across a range of clinical and business operations, but it will only be useful as long as it is a tool. AI systems should never be working on their own, as a skilled professional should evaluate AI outcomes before making a final call on whether or not to use the AI-generated suggestion.