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Top 100: Top Test Drives

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2011-12-01
Issue 12

DPR Technology Editor Dr. John Flucke is lucky enough to try numerous products out in his operatories. Here are five he put to work in 2011 that left a lasting impression on him and have the potential to help just about any practice.

DPR Technology Editor Dr. John Flucke is lucky enough to try numerous products out in his operatories. Here are five he put to work in 2011 that left a lasting impression on him and have the potential to help just about any practice.

Well, here we are again. Another year drawing to a close and another round of amazing products that have changed our practices and the lives of our patients for the better.
This year I had a chance to test drive some products that offer interesting changes as well as some products that, while not “brand new,” are starting to get market penetration and definitely bear investigation by dentists looking to offer the best for their patients. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at my “Top 5 Test Drives” of 2011!

UltradentVALOCordless Curing Light
In June, Ultradent released the cordless version of its VALO curing light. While the original A/C powered VALO was a strong seller for the company and a strong performer for dentists, Ultradent continued its R&D into the light until the cordless version was ready for prime time.

The device features outputs of Standard with 1,000 mw/cm2, High Power with 1,400 mw/cm2, and Xtra Power with 3,200 mw/cm2 and has an LED array that will cure any composite on the market–even those with proprietary photoinitiators.

The device is powerful, reliable and performs as advertised.

Kerr Corp.

In the spring of 2011, Kerr unleashed a composite device and system that may well change dentistry. The product is SonicFill, and Kerr presents it as a bulk fill composite system that has the potential to reduce composite placement time by 50%.

The system is composed of a handpiece that holds special composite cartridges that are loaded with a very thick, highly filled composite. The handpiece provides air driven vibration (similar to a sonic scaler) that causes the very thick composite to change its viscosity and flow into the prep. Once placed, the composite can be burnished, carved and bulk cured. This bulk curing can be done because of the highly filled nature of the composite that reduces polymerization shrinkage.
I’ve had a chance to use SonicFill for more than 6 months and have come away impressed.


For years now, we’ve been moving to using high powered LED lights to help provide auxiliary lighting that augments our use of surgical telescopes. Wearing magnification is a game changing decision and really should be considered by anyone practicing dentistry.

The one drawback to using LED lights that attach to our magnifying glasses is the dreaded cord. While not a “deal breaker,” the cord is definitely annoying at times and can be a bit cumbersome while the battery pack occasionally can be a pain to deal with.

To the rescue comes Orascoptic with its Freedom light system. This LED light system features a self contained lighting package with an LED light that provides an intensity of 5,000 foot candles and three brightness settings. The entire system mounts on the frame of your glasses and contains a set of two batteries that are placed in “paddles” that attach to the glasses at the ends of the arms.

The batteries make the light system neutrally balanced, taking weight off the nose and working as a counter balance to the light and the weight of the surgical telescopes. The entire package weighs only 20 grams. It has become my daily LED of choice in the last 6 months.


The iTero system is a great way to take your impressions digital. The device uses an intraoral camera to take a series of photos that are merged together to create a 3D image that is used to fabricate amazing models made of a composite type material. It is incredibly accurate capturing more than 100,000 data points on a scan and using all of this information to provide a 3D representation of the model right on the unit’s screen.

When the office is happy with the 3D model that is created on the screen (you can take and add extra photos that are merged into the existing scan) the information is sent to Cadent and the models are created and then sent to the lab.

Because of the accuracy of the scans, the prosthetics fit well and occlusal adjustments are greatly reduced.

The clinical results are amazing. I personally had two crowns done this year and chose to have the iTero used on both.

Philips Oral HealthcareSL3 Diode Laser
The SL3 is a portable 3-watt diode laser made and distributed by Discus. It features a rechargeable battery that allows it to be portable without plugging in to A/C power, a wireless foot control that helps eliminate cord clutter, and disposable fiber tips that are easy to attach and easy to use.

The product is light and portable weighing in at only 1.85 pounds. It has a touch screen that is well lit and comes preset with recommended settings for the most frequently performed procedures.

The device is small enough that we keep it in a drawer in my “main” operatory and can have it ready to go simply by opening the drawer and turning it on.

We have been using the SL3 since last spring and it has become the “go to” diode laser in the office. You just can’t beat opening the drawer and being ready to work.

Wrapping Up
So there you have it, my “Top 5 Test Drives” of the year. If you’d like to follow along with every device I put through the paces, feel free to check my blog at blog.denticle.com.

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