By Paul Feuerstein, DMD
In the past few months, I have come across a number of new product introductions. I have had a chance to try a couple of these, but hope to get more details and verify some of the manufacturers' claims shortly.
Still, with an overview here you may get some ideas about how these could help in your practice or how others may actually not be of interest to you. I sometimes find that products come out because an inventor thought everyone would like this new product or process, when, in fact, some have little universal appeal. A product is often created before a need is identified. Here are some novel ideas that seem to make sense to me.
DentalEar is a small silicone earbud that, at first look, I thought was just a noise-cancelling earphone with regard to the drill noise. This seemed like a good idea since not only do patients cringe, but the constant whine at high volume is detrimental to the operator's ears. I asked if this completely removed the drill sound, and the answer was a surprising "no." The reason is that we use the sound of the drill as a feedback mechanism, so this device lowers the decibel level below 85, which is the "too loud" range. You can hear voices and other sounds normally. More info is at dentalear.com.
Although I spend considerable time looking at digital impression systems, DENTSPLY Caulk introduced a novel PVS impression system that essentially eliminates the need for retraction. The Aquasil Ultra Cordless Tissue Managing Impression System uses a pneumatic dispenser that pushes the light body material through a tiny tip. Under this pressure and with a user-defined speed, the material is sent into the sulcus, pushing the gingiva away. This is different from current pastes and gels that have to be placed preop with a waiting time of a couple of minutes. With this system, you just prep and take the impression. Having done only a few cases at this time, I have to say that it works. Detailed information is at aquasilultracordless.com.
Dentalfone.com wants to revolutionize the idea of handing out business cards. The company does this by creating ultra-stylish, unique, and visually attractive mobile apps for today's most popular smartphones. Patients will now have a way to share your practice with friends, family, and co-workers with a representation of your practice right on their phone. Patients do not carry your business cards and brochures to hand out. But since most everyone has their phone with them, it means they also have your electronic business card to share. They can share the app via QR code, social media, and email. Their design uses simple mobile friendly "buttons." Check out the company website to learn more about this innovative new product.
What about a virtual dental exam? Through the years, some of us have given patients little plastic dental mirrors so they can monitor various dental conditions such as plaque, calculus--and in some situations--monitor the healing of a simple lesion. This has been taken to a new level by www.mymouthwatch.com. MouthWatch makes an inexpensive intraoral camera and software suite available to a patient. It plugs into a computer or laptop via USB. Not only can patients see the issue, but they can securely share it with the office via a HIPAA-compliant portal. No more out-of-focus iPhone photos of broken teeth in your email. Think about this one.
Teeth whitening technology continues to advance. When Philips acquired Discus, the company's scientists worked hard to reformulate the NiteWhite and DayWhite products to improve patient experience and results. The engineers at Philips, who we know as the lighting experts, redesigned the Zoom light with the latest LEDs to create the Zoom WhiteSpeed lamp. It has an extraordinarily bright light with variable intensity for patient comfort, and the LEDs will last 50,000 hours. The company also performed one of the largest clinical studies with professional whitening on more than 300 patients and validated better whitening results than a nonlighted activated whitening product. Information is available at philipsoralhealthcare.com.
A different approach was taken by Dr. Jonathan Levine with his GLO Science whitening system. In-office whitening is done with a "kit" that includes an LED illuminated mouthguard-type device. This device also generates a small amount of heat. After the treatment, the patient keeps the light and uses it at home to continue bleaching. This mouthpiece is the delivery system so no trays are necessary. More information is available at glosciencepro.com.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for new innovations. Among many products, I will review lasers and new CAD/CAM systems, including in-office mills and printers.
Paul Feuerstein, DMD, installed one of dentistry's first computers in 1978, teaching and writing about technology since then while practicing general dentistry in North Billerica, Mass. He maintains a website (www.computersindentistry.com), Facebook page (Paul-Feuerstein-DMD-Dental-Technology), is on Twitter (@drpaulf), and can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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