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At the ADA annual session and the Greater New York dental meetings, I saw many new products and ideas.

by Paul Feuerstein, DMD

At the ADA annual session and the Greater New York dental meetings, I saw many new products and ideas. Some of these have merit, while others seemed to be created just because someone could. I'll discuss a few of them here.

This month the Chicago Midwinter Meeting will bring even more product introductions. This will be followed by the IDS (International Dental Show) in Cologne, Germany, which will tell us what is available in the rest of the world.

SciCan has introduced the G4 Statim sterilizer. Many states require a log of the cycles and some of the systems have printers to churn out reports. This unit not only stores the cycles in the onboard computer, allowing you to see the lot on the screen, but it also has a USB drive that has the information, and this information can be copied anywhere.

But (as they say) that is not all. There is a network port in the back that can be connected online to a service center. If the system fails, the center is alerted, your office is alerted, and diagnostic tests are run remotely. The serviceperson will know what to fix and/or what part to bring on the first visit. The unit comes in two sizes. More information is available at www.scican.com.

Many years ago, I took a course that suggested we bake cookies or bread in the office to create a wonderful, homey scent. After a few weeks, my staff revolted since we were eating the bread and cookies and were gaining weight. At the ADA, a company by the name of ScentAir displayed a small, fanlike machine that has 1,800 scents to choose from (and no calories) to create pleasant scents for your office. For more about this machine, go to www.scentair.com.

In dental photography, it is virtually impossible to keep up with the latest and greatest cameras. There are several companies that do the research for us and put together packages that work best for dental images. But no matter how "soft" your flash is, there is always a bit of reflection from the tooth surfaces.

For case presentation, this is realistic and fine. But when you are communicating a shade to the dental lab, a hot spot may be on a convexity and may slightly alter the color or texture. Photomed has introduced a polarizing filter that eliminates glare. More information on "polar_eyes" can be found at www.photomed.net.

Many of us depend on reviews at Yelp.com when looking for a new restaurant or service. But do you realize that patients are posting and looking at your office on Yelp, too? Our practices are already listed there, and it behooves you to look at yours.

At the ADA meeting, the people from Yelp said that you can go to your office's listing and "claim" it. You can update your information, add photos and videos, see what people are saying about you, and even respond. You cannot edit comments and are not supposed to solicit endorsements. But why not alert your "good" patients to the fact that your office has a listing?

The people at www.cleankeys.com have come up with a revision of their original models. The solid glass or acrylic surface and wireless capability of the revised keyboard models make it easier to clean by merely spraying and wiping. There is even a monitor that alerts you if it has not been cleaned or if you missed a spot. The company is also introducing a washable (even dishwasher-safe) wireless mouse.

An obvious change in the dental operatory is the overhead lights. Major chair and unit manufacturers are making an LED version. There are also some new companies that have debuted overhead lights, and some can even retrofit your existing lights.

The advantages are numerous. The bulbs use less energy, and most are warranted for at least 10 years. They vary in intensity and color wavelength. This is amazing if you're trying to match a shade in "sunlight" or artificial lighting. The LEDs can be tuned to about 4,000 to 6,000 Hz (with natural light being 5,500 Hz).

There are also colored LEDs that can be switched on when you are curing composites. The new curing lights are LED. This helps avoid a possible disaster if you are placing a composite and the overhead light sets it too soon. Since the LED lights are small, they can be configured in many interesting shapes, and most do not need a parabolic focusing plate.

Did I mention that they do not get hot? These lights are designed with touch-sensitive controls, are cleanable, and have more features. You can say goodbye to the giant Ritter lights of the past.

This is just a small sample of items that I've recently discovered. Due to the dynamic changes, I'm trying to keep DentistryIQ.com, as well as my Twitter (@drpaulf) and Facebook Technology pages, up-to-date. As always, look for me on the floor at upcoming dental meetings in 2013.

Paul Feuerstein, DMD, installed one of dentistry's first computers in 1978. For more than 20 years, he has taught technology courses. A general practitioner in North Billerica, Mass., since 1973, Dr. Feuerstein maintains a website (www.computersindentistry.com), and can be reached at drpaul@toothfairy.com.

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