Joshua Austin, DDS, FAGD
Adhese Universal VivaPen
The Adhese Universal VivaPen by Ivoclar Vivadent is my favorite product of the year! I'm sure most dentists understand that waste and evaporation are huge issues that increase the cost of performing restorative dentistry. If we can eliminate some of this, we can efficiently reduce our overhead without sacrificing any quality of care. The Adhese Universal VivaPen is a great answer. This nifty little delivery system enables the clinician to dispense only the exact amount of adhesive needed for each restoration. The adhesive itself is kept in a hermetically sealed compartment that eliminates evaporation and other adverse effects from oxygen. The single-use, tufted tip applicator can be attached to the pen to allow for the adhesive to be dispensed directly to the preparation in the mouth. The pen has an easy-to-push button that dispenses the adhesive. Adhese Universal is a single component adhesive that can be used in a self-etch, selective-etch, or total-etch method. In my practice, I prefer to etch only the enamel with phosphoric acid etch. This leaves the Adhese Universal to etch the dentin more mildly, which prevents activations of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which could degrade the bond over time. This is the selective-etch method. Using this method with the Adhese Universal VivaPen leaves my patients with little to no sensitivity and strong bond strength. I was very loyal to my former bonding system, but the Adhese Universal VivaPen broke up my relationship with my old bonding agent. I couldn't be happier!
Whitening has become the standard patient giveaway in many practices. Finding a great prefabricated tray system can cut down on the work that goes into whitening tray fabrication and can save overhead and time. Opalescence has been the leader in whitening for years, and with Opalescence Go, you can give your patients a quick and easy whitening solution that won't bog down your practice with lab work. I love Opalescence Go for teens and patient giveaways.
We all have patients who will never be regular flossers. I feel that it is our responsibility to teach those patients about alternatives to floss - not just beat them over the head about why they should floss. The Sonicare AirFloss by Philips is a great tool for patients who resist regular flossing. It won't replace flossing, but it's better than nothing. The gadget factor alone will probably win over some followers. It's also a great tool for ortho patients.
I love my Isolite. It is spectacular and makes my life easier every day. I would love to help my hygienist experience the same joy. Isovac from Isolite Systems is a great solution for the hygiene room. The adapter fits on high-volume evacuation (HVE) tips and uses the same Isolite mouthpieces, so installation is a breeze. Hygienists can then benefit from better isolation for scaling and root planing procedures and sealant applications.
I'm a digital impression guy, but there are still times in my practice when I need a polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) impression. I really like Virtual XD from Ivoclar Vivadent for the situations in which I need to use PVS. The wash material penetrates into the sulcus after pressure is applied from the simultaneously-setting material, creating a tag team effect that is genius. Virtual XD is very readable and has high hydrophilicity and tear strength. It's everything I want from a PVS impression.
Ultrasonic Piezo Tips
Every endodontist I know swears by ultrasonics. They use them in multiple forms during different parts of the root canal procedure. From access to instrumentation to irrigation, ultrasonics help at every step. Essential Dental Systems (EDS) Ultrasonic Piezo Tips can make your endo easier and more predictable! Just ask your endodontist friends; I promise that they love them.
If you're using PVS or polyether impression material in your practice, 3M ESPE's Pentamix Lite can make you and your assistant very happy. Many impression materials come in a cheaper-per-gram price in Pentamix cartridges, plus the quality and quickness of your tray material mix will improve. My assistant talks constantly about how the Pentamix reduces stress and fatigue on her hands and makes her life easier, which in turn makes my life easier. It's a win-win situation.
As stated in previous Pearls, I do a lot of resin composites in my practice. In the past, I frequently noticed fiber filaments from my applicators in my preparation. I tried as best I could to get them all out, but they were so fine and hard to see that I never knew if they were all gone. Transcodent's Appliquator eliminates that fear. It's 100% fiber-free, so there's no need to worry about contaminating the bond.
High-definition (HD) Mirrors
It makes sense to me to invest a little more into something you use every day, multiple times a day. A mirror is a perfect example of this. Most of us probably use the cheapest house-brand mirror we can find and just take it for granted. At least I did. HD Mirrors by Hu-Friedy are clearly better than the house-brand mirrors I used before. They are brighter and clearer and more resistant to scratching. I replaced all the mirrors on my treatment kits with these, and I've been extremely happy.
Capturing good quality photographs of cosmetic or prospective cosmetic cases can be really difficult. Flexipalettes by Smile Line help by giving you multiple nonreflective, contrasting backgrounds to help emphasize cosmetic cases in photos. They are autoclavable, and the silicon coating is soft for the patient's mouth. Flexipalettes are an invaluable tool in capturing your dentistry with digital photography.
Fog-Free Photo kit
About a month ago, one of my hygienists dropped and broke one of the inserts for our Fog-Free Photo Kit from Innovative Dental Design. I ordered a new one online, but it took a few days to arrive. During that time, we did not have a buccal mirror insert, and it became very apparent how reliant we had become on the Fog-Free Photo Kit. It makes our lives easier every day by simplifying the art of dental photography. We get high-quality images more quickly when we use this kit. I highly recommend this if you take any dental photographs with a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) in your practice.
The OptraSculpt Pad by Ivoclar Vivadent has worked its way into my regular anterior composite kit and has become my go-to instrument for class IV composite restorations. It reduces the restoration time and simplifies the process greatly. It is truly one of my favorite instruments, and I could not recommend it more highly.
TrueDefinition with Invisalign
As I do more Invisalign cases, it is remarkable how well aligners fit when the case is scanned with my 3M TrueDefinition Scanner. More precise aligners mean teeth that track along with the ClinCheck better, which means more predictable Invisalign finishes. Scanning yields better and more predictable results, so I've been calling my orthodontist friends to recommend that they get a TrueDefinition.
Bite-Chek articulation film
When I first reviewed Microcopy's Bite-Chek, I thought it was definitely a good product. After having it in my practice for the past few months, I've realized how handy it is to have around. The novel feature of Bite-Chek is that I no longer need articulating paper forceps to check occlusion. I could certainly make this the exclusive thin articulating paper in my practice, but I would hesitate to go that far. On my regular restorative kits, I still have Parkell's AccuFilm II on articulating paper forceps. However, one of my biggest frustrations is having to check and adjust occlusion in hygiene rooms. My hygienists can never seem to find the forceps, and it takes them a few minutes to hunt around for them while I sit there impatiently. The same thing happens frequently during post-op occlusal adjustments on my schedule. My basic kits don't all have articulating forceps. Inevitably, they aren't there when I need them. With Bite-Chek, all an assistant or hygienist has to do is grab the film, and we're off and running. This is invaluable in my practice, where every minute counts. I don't have a bunch of extra operatories, so running behind really throws off our day. If I need to do an occlusal adjustment, it needs to happen quickly and efficiently. Microcopy's Bite-Chek helps me do that. I like how cleanly and distinctly it marks - even with wet teeth. It makes adjustments easy, especially on the fly. Bite-Chek has a permanent place in my practice for hygiene room and post-op occlusal adjustments.
MirrorImage by Cosmedent
Cosmedent's MirrorImage system simplifies the process of fabricating and cementing cosmetic provisionals. The material trims and polishes better than almost any provisional material I've ever handled. The provisional cements are very retentive and clean up nicely. Gloss can be a nice touch to make your provisionals pop. All in all, I love this system for the fabrication of esthetic provisionals.