Since the beginning of the year, I have been to several meetings. I am still reviewing many products and services, but I will present a few of the interesting ones here in no particular order and with no bias.
|Figure 1. Carestream’s CS 3600.|
|Figure 2. Air Techniques’ ScanX Swift.|
|Figure 3. VOCO’s Admira Fusion.|
As I run up and down the aisles of dental meetings, I am constantly stopped by people at booths who say, “You have to see this!” Being the accommodating person that I am, I give a cursory look, make notes, then return later to fill in the blanks with additional information, which you will see here in this column. Since the beginning of the year, I have been to several meetings, including the Star of the South, Yankee, Chicago Midwinter, and Hinman. I am still reviewing many products and services, but I will present a few of the interesting ones here in no particular order and with no bias.
In the digital impression world, Dental Wings launched a new scanner as did Carestream and Align. The Carestream CS 3600 (Figure 1) is much faster than the 3500, the software is better, and the color resolution is HD. Carestream will continue to sell and support the CS 3500, which is still a nice, lower-priced option. The Align iTero has been totally redesigned, and Align was showcasing its “blinding speed” of acquisition at the meetings. The Dental Wings scanner uses a different-shaped wand and has innovative software and hardware as the interface. The others continue with upgrades and improvements, and the good news is that all are totally accurate and predictable, and offices should look hard at this alternative to the traditional impressions. Also, you should not focus totally on which one is the slickest unit; focus on how the unit integrates into your patient workflow. We will get further into this at the year progresses.
In digital radiography, there seems to be a resurgence of phosphor plates. These film-like sensors are used in the office like “the old days,” except the plates are developed in a digital box in less than 10 seconds. The images have vastly improved, and they come in all sizes at a very low cost. It is notable that the entire surface area of the plates captures the image, whereas the sensors have to leave room for the electronics and cases, so there is a slightly smaller capture in each image. Air Techniques now has the ScanX Swift (Figure 2), Acteon the PSPIX, and Carestream the CS 7200. Take another look at this category.
Hard-tissue lasers were prevalent at the meetings. BIOLASE continues to upgrade its system and add to its existing line of lasers. Convergent, with its Solea, is turning a lot of heads. Its CO2-based system gets faster and more accurate every time I see it at the shows. Competition in this area is fierce, with Fotona’s LightWalker and the newest LiteTouch, introduced in Chicago by AMD, which is continuing its quest to keep lasers of all types very affordable.
Speaking of affordability, the new Bien-Air Optima electric handpiece system is compact, inexpensive, and easy to install—just connect a standard hose and plug it into an electrical outlet. It is compatible with the company’s entire line of contra-angles and other attachments, and it comes in several colors.
Although tech products are my main focus, as a GP, I of course use various restorative materials, and 3 companies have pushed chemistry to another level. Pulpdent has its bioactive Activa base and restorative material. According to Pulpdent, there is a formation of hydroxyapatite-like crystals at the etched enamel interface. Doxa’s Ceramir cement has similar properties at the crown margins. VOCO showcased its new Admira Fusion (Figure 3), which is a unique restorative material that is not a composite but a ceramic-based restorative, and it does not contain traditional monomers or BIS-GMA, BPA, or other chemicals that are undergoing public scrutiny.
One of the most interesting products I’ve seen at the past few meetings has been a little robot named MEDi. Its manufacturer, Calgary-based RxRobots, has developed this sophisticated little guy to be programmed to talk to young children undergoing dental procedures. It calls them by name and acts as a compassionate coach while entertaining by singing and dancing. It is not unlike offices that use a lap dog with some patients. There are videos on the company’s website (rxrobots.com) and YouTube. People have become quite enamored with this little guy.
I have been to several meetings and have visited hundreds of booths, and this is only a small sample of the items that I have seen. I did not leave anything out intentionally, and to be honest, I have enough information for at least a year of Technology Today. As they say, stay tuned.