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Reliable all-ceramic crowns

Aug. 1, 2003
Many dental laboratories are offering alternatives to porcelain fused to metal since dentists are moving to more aesthetic restorations that retain strength and stability.

By Joe Blaes

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Pearl 1 — Cercon™ by DENTSPLY Ceramco. Many dental laboratories are offering alternatives to porcelain fused to metal since dentists are moving to more aesthetic restorations that retain strength and stability. One of these alternatives is Cercon, an innovative system for reliable, all-ceramic crowns and bridges. These crowns have a precision fit and are strong enough to be placed anywhere in the mouth in both single units and bridges. With Cercon you can have the beauty of an all-ceramic crown minus any breakage concerns. You will be amazed with the great look of porcelain stacked on the zirconia core. The case is waxed in the normal fashion. The wax-up is then scanned by the CAM (computer assisted milling) unit. The CAM mills the crown cores, which are then sintered for strength. Porcelain is then stacked to finish the case. The Cercon Smart Ceramic System will allow you to cater to your patients' desire to attain a functional and beautiful smile. Contact your dental laboratory or visit DENTSPLY's Web site at, or call (800) 487-0100 for more information.

Pearl 2 — The Toothpaste Secret by Trisha E. O'Hehir, RDH. My good friend Trish O'Hehir has written a fun book that gets across some new ideas in tooth brushing. It is written primarily for our patients but also is intended to train dentists and staff. The book is based on sound research done with the participation of dental hygienists across the country.

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O'Hehir knew from experience that the mandibular lingual surfaces demonstrated greater accumulations of both hard and soft deposits and more bleeding on probing than other areas of the mouth. Despite this information, standard toothbrushing focuses little or no attention on this area. The group of hygienists instructed patients to alter their brushing routine by brushing the inside of the bottom teeth first with a dry toothbrush (that is, no water and no toothpaste). When their mouths felt clean and tasted clean, they rinsed their brushes and brushed again with toothpaste. Then bleeding and calculus scores were recorded again. When compared with the original scores, mean bleeding was reduced 55 percent and mean calculus scores were reduced 60 percent. Patients reported brushing longer than usual.

When I tried the technique, I was amazed that I got like results, so now I am hooked. Everyone should try this! To order O'Hehir's book, call (800) 374-4290, or visit her Web site at for information on bulk orders.

Pearl 3 — DiscoverLight® by Clinician's Choice. Years ago, all dental units were equipped with a wired transilluminator, one of the great, forgotten ways to diagnose problems in a tooth. The Discover-Light is a portable, battery operated transilluminator that sheds an incredibly bright light on teeth. You won't believe what you have been missing!

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Many times a seemingly small problem that goes undetected can quickly lead to a more complex problem in the future. By simply shining the tip of the DiscoverLight on the teeth, you will be able to find cracks, undetected caries, plaque deposits, and air bubbles in seating veneers easily. To order, call (800) 265-3444 or visit for more information.

Pearl 4 — Dry Tips® from Microcopy. When I treat upper and lower first and second molars, I always use what I consider to be the very best cheek protector on the market today. The last time I inadvertently cut a patient's cheek with a diamond was just before I discovered Dry Tips. Now I can easily protect those tissues AND control saliva flow. Dry Tips will absorb and retain 30 times their own weight in moisture. They are designed to actually stick to tissue and thus stay right where you put them.

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Be careful to wet the surface of the tissue as you remove them since they are attached to the tissue. When you remove it, you will notice that the moisture is trapped in the Dry Tip so that it does not drip and contaminate the treatment field.

Dry Tips come in two sizes: large for adults and small for children. This is the ultimate saliva control device on the market. You can keep the parotid gland in check for 15 minutes — great for placing sealants, composites, and doing cementations.

To order, call (800) 235-1863, or visit www.microcopy for more information.

Pearl 5 — Defend MirrorLite™ by Mydent Corporation. Here is a lightweight device that puts a mirror and a light in the same area at the same time. MirrorLite is a lightweight, battery-operated, portable light source with an attached disposable mirror that provides greater visibility anywhere in the mouth. This is an LED light with true color that is ideal for putting light into those dark areas of the mouth. Since the mirror is disposable, this is the perfect system for air abrasion.

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MirrorLite is also great for exams, oral cancer detection, school exams, posterior composites, and many other uses. Get yours by calling (800) 275-0020, or visit for more information.

Pearl 6 — The Virtually Indestructible Keyboard by GrandTec USA. Here at last is a keyboard that offers users peace of mind and body. The Virtually Indestructible Keyboard (VIK), a silicon-based, flexible computer keyboard, is the only keyboard that is easily disinfected with antiseptic sprays and is washable as well. The VIK is impervious to most anything including water, coffee, and cleaning solutions. The VIK's flat, ergonomic design allows for a stress free typing position. This keyboard can actually be rolled up for storage. VIK is simply amazing technology!

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If you have a computer in your treatment areas, you must have the VIK. They are an inexpensive addition to your computer. To order, call (214) 366-3496, or visit for more information. I think it is flat out the best keyboard in the world!

Pearl 7 — Trimax™ Composite Instrument from Addent. Do you have problems getting anatomically correct contact areas when placing composite restorations? Are you concerned about curing composites that are at the base of a deep, interproximal box? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then you need the Trimax! This composite instrument accepts optically clear, disposable micro light tips that are shaped to fit different sized teeth. You simply place an increment of composite into the interproximal box and then place the light guide in the composite, packing it against the band and onto the floor of the box. Then place a curing light tip on the light guide and cure the composite while holding the Trimax in place.

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This nifty little instrument will ensure that you have tight contacts and cured composites. If you are placing posterior composites, you need the Trimax. To order call (203) 778-0200, or visit their Web site at for more information.

Dr. Blaes has a general practice in the St. Louis area. He is known for his expertise in dental materials and techniques and his innovative systems designs. He writes and lectures on "How To Increase Productivity and Profitability." Dr. Blaes is a member of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. He may be reached at joeb@pen

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