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Pearls for Your Practice: Resin-reinforced glass ionomer, ceramic tip, scheduling widget

April 1, 2019
Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, reviews a resin-reinforced glass ionomer, a ceramic tip, and a scheduling widget.

GC Fuji Automix LC resin-reinforced glass ionomer by GC America

I avoided glass ionomers as much as possible for a decade of my career. I had a bad experience with them in dental school. I did not like how they handled. I did not like how they looked. I thought the delivery system was cumbersome. I thought glass ionomers had nothing to offer the modern restorative practice. I was wrong. Glass ionomers have many great uses—I just needed to find the right one. GC Fuji Automix LC from GC America is one of the right ones!

In my opinion, GC America is a go-to company for glass ionomers. The company has been in the glass ionomer game for ages and continues to innovate in this department. Their newest addition is GC Fuji Automix LC, a resin-reinforced, light-curing glass ionomer. One major advantage of glass ionomer is that it chemically bonds to dentin. It is the only material we have in our arsenal that does that. The resin reinforcement gives us better esthetics, polishability, and handling, which resolves a couple of my complaints from dental school. The other complaint (cumbersome delivery system) is resolved with GC’s new ergonomic dispensing gun.

The cartridge that Fuji Automix LC comes in and the new dispensing gun are unique. You can dispense the material directly into the preparation accurately with no triturating or hand mixing. Simply snap a new tip onto the cartridge and immediately dispense the Fuji Automix LC. Having a consistent, even mix with no air bubbles helps increase the strength of the material compared to traditional hand-mixed glass ionomers. 

In my practice, I use glass ionomers in a few applications. For a carious class V lesion, glass ionomer is an amazing choice, and Fuji Automix LC is at the top of my list. I routinely use Fuji Automix LC on primary teeth, even on class I and class II lesions. I also have used this material for core buildups, and it has worked very well.

Last month I used Fuji Automix LC on a permanent tooth in a moderate-sized class I restoration that was very sensitive. The patient had had a resin composite done several weeks before in another office, and the tooth had developed reversible pulpitis. Once I removed the composite and replaced it with glass ionomer, the tooth felt better. I advised the patient that the glass ionomer will need to be replaced with another composite in a year or so, but she was thrilled that her sensitivity had calmed down, and we became her heroes. Situations like this one are great for glass ionomer.

If you have overlooked glass ionomer like I did, give it another chance. GC Fuji Automix LC might be just what you need to add glass ionomer to your repertoire. If you routinely use glass ionomer but want a simpler delivery system, Fuji Automix LC might be just what you were looking for. Fuji Automix LC is a great option for some of the restorative dilemmas we routinely face in our practices. Double to dead center for GC America!

CeraTip ceramic tip by Komet Dental

Gingival tissue gets in the way many times throughout the day of a restorative dentist. Sometimes we have to deal with deep decay, and tissue is a barrier to visualization and isolation. Sometimes we need to access more tooth structure for retention and resistance form, and tissue gets in our way. Sometimes we end up with excess tissue around an implant, making the restorative process more difficult. Any way you cut it (pun intended), we need quick and easy ways to manage these situations. That is where the CeraTip from Komet Dental can help.

The CeraTip looks like a white flame-shaped bur. Made of durable high-grade ceramic, it can help you manage tissue quickly and easily when it's inserted into your high-speed handpiece. The CeraTip is designed to be an ideal alternative to a scalpel or an electrosurgery unit.

In my practice, I have used the CeraTip to trough tissue around crown preparations, remove gingiva that has overgrown into a carious lesion, expose deep gingival decay, and trim overgrown tissue around an implant. This tip is best used at full speed in your high-speed handpiece with no water spray. The heat is needed to generate some thermal coagulation to inhibit bleeding.

The price runs around $66 per tip. I know this seems expensive for a single bur, but remember, this is not just a bur. It may look like one, but it is not. When compared with the cost of a laser or electrosurgery unit, it is obviously a fraction of the price.

The tip can be used countless times, especially if it is handled with care. To clean it, use a nylon brush and then autoclave it. I recommend getting a CeraTip and discussing it thoroughly with your team. If they understand that it is not just a regular bur, they will care for it accordingly.

When I need to zap some gingiva out of the way, the CeraTip is the fastest, most efficient way. Certainly, situations involving more tissue will require something more, but for the basic issues, the CeraTip is something I am glad I have. Give it a try! Base hit through the third-base hole for Komet!

ScheduleWidget by Old Well Solutions

A couple of weeks ago, I lectured in Boston at the Yankee Dental Congress. I needed to hitch a ride from the Boston Convention Center to Boston Logan International Airport. Ten years ago, I would have had to call a taxi company to order a cab. When was the last time you did that? Today, we pull out a smartphone and open Uber or Lyft and order a ride right then and there. We all use Amazon Prime to deliver our basic needs directly to our front doors. Our brains have been retrained to want instant gratification without jumping through hoops and having a bunch of conversations.

Prospective patients want the same thing when they make dental appointments. The act of scheduling an appointment is often the barrier. In my practice, we have been using ScheduleWidget to help patients overcome that barrier.

ScheduleWidget takes just a few minutes to sign up for. Part of the sign-up process involves giving ScheduleWidget the email address of your webmaster. Your webmaster will be sent a little snippet of code to copy and paste under the hood of your website. Just like that, a scheduling button will appear on your website. Once you’ve signed up, you will be able to log in to the ScheduleWidget desktop app and add your next available new-patient appointments.

The whole process is super easy. 

You will need to tell ScheduleWidget what appointments to offer prospective patients. We have been developing our system for that, and I can share what we do in my practice. We block off two or three of the next new-patient hygiene holes on our schedule. Those are usually six to eight weeks out. We then block out those slots in our practice management software. We will fill one of the slots if a new patient on the phone wants it. The block on the schedule simply reminds us to delete that appointment from ScheduleWidget.

We then add any short-term openings we have for new patients on the hygiene schedule. At least once a week, a new-patient slot will open up on our schedule. When that happens, we add it to ScheduleWidget. We have had good luck filling those slots with people who are perusing our website.

At any given time, we have two to four appointments ready to be claimed on ScheduleWidget. Patients are always given an option to request an appointment if any of those times don’t work. Whether a patient claims an appointment or requests an appointment, you or your office manager will receive an immediate email with the patient's demographic and appointment information.

There are other services on the market like ScheduleWidget, but its simplicity and cost set it far apart. For a limited time, ScheduleWidget is available at no cost for readers of Dental Economics. To sign up, go to schedulewidget.com and click the “Need an account” button. Where the website asks, “How did you hear about us?” enter the code "JOSH." How cool is that?!

For no risk and no cost, you can add the luxury of online scheduling for new patients to your web page. When we added it to ours, I was stunned to see how quickly we started filling appointments. We had six new patients booked within the first five days—and all of those patients have shown up for their appointments. I think ScheduleWidget is the best approach I have seen to removing some of the barriers for prospective new patients. Line-drive triple into the left-field corner for ScheduleWidget!

About the Author

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, is a graduate and former faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry. Author of Dental Economics’ Pearls for Your Practice column, Dr. Austin lectures nationally on products, dental technology, online reputation management, and social media. He maintains a full-time restorative dentistry private practice in San Antonio, Texas. You may contact Dr. Austin at [email protected].

Updated June 21, 2023

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