Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ever Notice Those Curvy Wingtips on Planes? NASA Invented Those

A bit of a geeky post for today, but hey, if you’ve hung around here long enough you know that I live for this kind of stuff.
I was reading an article recently on the NASA website and I fell down the rabbit hold into the invention of “winglets”.  Those are those little pieces on the wing of airliners that look sort of like vertical stabilizers.  Many years ago, a plane enthusiast friend of mine had told me there were used for fuel economy.  He was pretty knowledgeable so I let it go at that.
Then I stumbled across that NASA  sight and got a chance to read the entire history of winglets.  It’s a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.  However, if you just want some of the cool highlights, I can provide them here.
  • They are indeed for fuel economy
  • The diminish induced drag by 20 percent and improve the overall aircraft lift-drag ratio by 6 to 9 percent
  • Southwest Airline’s use of the technology on their 737-700 fleet saves the company 100,000 gallons of fuel each year
  • Winglets offer between 4-6% fuel savings
  • Because less fuel is burned, emissions go down as well
  • Winglets provide up to a 6 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and an 8 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide as well
  • In 2010 it was estimated the winglets had saved 2 billion gallons of jet fuel and reduced emission of 21.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions

That’s pretty incredible stuff for a little vertical tip on the wing!  There is a lot to be learned from this.  I mean, who would look at one of these things and then immediately decide they were complete and utter game changers in so many ways?  For me, it’s the perfect example of why I’m a skeptic but always willing to change my mind if you can produce validated science.

A big thank you to NASA and a big thank you to the winglet inventor aeronautical engineer Richard Whitcomb!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dentistry Ranked #1 in Best Health Care Jobs for 2018

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Every year U.S. News & World Report publishes a list of the best jobs in America in a number of categories.  I am happy and proud to report here that for 2018 Dentistry has been ranked #1 in Best Health Care Jobs.  Of course I’m biased, but I could not agree more.  
Dentistry is an exciting profession that rapidly advances and requires constant attention to stay on the leading edge.  It’s also truly great for extroverts like myself as I love helping people and getting to know them.  That, for me, is the best part of my profession.  I won’t lie, it does have some down days, but those are pretty rare for me.  Most days I can’t wait to get to the office and start helping people.
When I graduated in the late 80’s there was a definite saturation in the dental market and schools were actually closing or cutting class sizes.  Now class sizes are again up and new schools are being built.
Here’s one paragraph from the U.S. News website:
The need for professionals to examine our teeth, and fill and – gulp – refill our cavities isn't fading. And because more people want cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening, the demand for dentists is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of 17.5 percent between 2016 and 2026, with 23,200 new openings. A comfortable salary, low unemployment rate and agreeable work-life balance boost dentist to a top position on our list of Best Jobs.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Academy of Laser Dentistry Now Accepting Applications for 2018 Research Grants

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The Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) the only independent and unbiased non-profit association dedicated to improving patient care with the proper use of laser technology, is now accepting applications for the Dr. Eugene M. Seidner Research Grants Program.

Named in the memory of Dr. Seidner, a laser dentistry pioneer who also served as ALD president 1996-1997, recipients will be honored during the ALD’s 25th Anniversary Conference & Exhibition, April 26-28th at the Caribe Royale Orlando, Florida.

According to ALD executive director Gail Siminovsky, CAE, “We established the scholarship in Dr. Seidner’s honor in 2004. In 2012, we reached our $100,000 fundraising goal, and now in 2018 ALD is excited to introduce research grants to the Seidner opportunities. The grant is intended to strengthen the Academy of Laser Dentistry’s mission of fostering a positive impact on dental laser education and research.”

Research Grant Details

The Dr. Eugene M. Seidner Research Grant was founded to promote the advancement of dental laser technology education and clinical research. Up to three grant awards totaling up to $20,000.00 may be awarded annually to individuals to promote basic and applied clinical research for the use of lasers in dentistry.

To be considered, the project must broadly assess the role of lasers of dentistry, irrespective of whether the technology is used for surgical, diagnostic, antimicrobial, photo biomodulation, photodynamic therapy, imaging, or biomaterials applications. Research proposals on competing designs or devices are not encouraged.

Primary applicants or at least one team member must be member(s) of the Academy of Laser Dentistry
for the past 3 years prior to application. Full details and applications may be downloaded or received by contacting the Academy of Laser Dentistry. Completed applications must be received by ALD by the end March 1, 2018 for consideration for the 2018 annual conference. Click here for complete details and to download an application.

Institutional Relationships

The award is made to the sponsoring academic institution on the behalf of the awardee. The institution must have the environment and general resources suitable for conducting research as stated in the application. What’s more, a letter of support from the dean or director of the institution must be enclosed with the application. The investigator is directly responsible to the sponsoring institution for the proper conduct of the project and management of the funds. Click here to download details and an application.

Donations Welcome

Voluntary donations from ALD members and others in the dental profession, have funded the Dr. Seidner Scholarship program and to date, 26 dental students from around the world have traveled to the ALD annual session to present their work and benefit from ALD membership, ALD conference attendance and in receiving Standard Proficiency Dental Laser Education and certification. Click here download more information and a contribution form.

About the Academy of Laser Dentistry

The Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) is the only independent and unbiased non-profit association devoted to laser dentistry and includes clinicians, academicians and researchers in all laser wavelengths. The Academy is devoted to clinical education, research, and the development of standards and guidelines for the safe and effective use of dental laser technology. ALD was founded in 1993, with the merging of the International Academy of Laser Dentistry, the North American Academy of Laser Dentistry and the American Academy of Laser Dentistry. For more information, visit www.LaserDentistry.org.

About ALD2018:

ALD’s upcoming annual meeting (ALD2018) promises to be the Academy’s biggest annual event to date. This year’s theme is “Innovation, Illumination, Imagination – Celebrating Laser Dentistry 25 Years and Beyond.” ALD2018 will take place from April 26-28th at the Caribe Royale Orlando, Florida. For more information and to register, visit


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is About to Change Mobile Video...

For years now I’ve been flying and creating video with my DJI drone.  The experience of being able to fly and create video has allowed me to create some pretty amazing things.  I’m a bonafide camera bug and I love taking photos, but as the tech world has expanded, it seems that a something has been left out.  
Just a few years ago, everyone needed a small portable digital camera.  I know that for years, I carried a small Canon Elf with me so that I could take pictures and video everywhere I went.  I loved the size which is 95.2 x 54.3 x 22.1 mm and it only weighs 127 g.  Back then, of course, video wasn’t as nearly as big a deal.  The resolution of most cameras was poor (even worse when it was in a phone) and slow Internet speeds meant uploading a video took an incredibly long time.  Hence, we didn’t use a lot of video for our everyday existence.  It was just too cumbersome.  However, in 2008 the iPhone came along and that same year, we saw a 27% decrease in the sales of handheld digital cameras.
Fast forward to 2017 (now 2018) and you’ll admit we’ve seen an exponential growth in both video viewing as well as video creation.  That’s because our phones can now shoot incredibly high resolution video and upload it at screaming connection speeds.  Yet with all of these incredible advancements in our smartphones, we are still suffering with herky-jerky video that looks pretty much to be what it is… someone holding a phone and trying to use it as a video camera.  But now, thanks to the smart people at DJI, those days are over.
DJI has taken some of the technology they’ve created and used in their drone video systems and used it to completely remake their Osmo Mobile platform into the Osmo Mobile 2.  This device connects via Bluetooth to your phone to turn it into an incredibly stable and user friendly handheld video system.  The price?  A frighteningly affordable $129 US.  It’s not available yet, but it should be available from the Apple website on January 23 and from the DJI website in early February.  Guess what just got added to my wish list?
For all the info, visit the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 page at DJI.com and if you want to learn everything there is to know about the device, take a look at the review by Joshua Goldman at Cnet.com  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Align Technology to Discontinue Acceptance of Digital Scan Submissions From 3Shape TRIOS Scanners in the United States

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A few years back, Align purchased the Cadent iTero system.  This allowed Align to move into a totally digital workflow by using iTero digital scans to create Invisalign clear orthodontic appliances.  Over the last couple of years, Align has begun to accept scans from other digital scanning companies.  However, now comes word that Align will no longer be accepting scans from Trios scanners after January 31, 2018.  Here are all of the details:

3Shape Infringing Conduct and Resulting Litigation Results in Termination of Invisalign Interoperability Contract

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - December 20, 2017) - Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALGN) announced today that due to 3Shape's infringing conduct and the resulting litigation against Shape A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark and 3Shape Inc. of Warren N.J. (collectively "3Shape."), the company terminated its Invisalign interoperability contract with 3Shape and will no longer be able to accept digital scans for new Invisalign treatment and/or retention cases from TRIOS scanners in the United States, effective January 31*, 2018. Doctors who need to submit additional TRIOS scans for an existing Invisalign case (for refinement or additional aligners) will still be able to do so.

Because the current lawsuits involve only U.S. patents, this litigation does not affect non-U.S. Invisalign customers. As a result, we will continue to accept digital scans for new Invisalign treatment and/or retention cases from TRIOS scanners outside of the U.S.

"We understand that the termination of interoperability and discontinuance of accepting digital scans for Invisalign treatment and/or retention cases through TRIOS scanners will inconvenience our customers and we wish it could have been avoided. We have reached out to affected practices and are working to help minimize any disruption," said Roger E. George, vice president, legal affairs and general counsel for Align Technology. "The last thing we want is to impact our customers and their practices. However, Align will not allow competitors to copy our products and their features or infringe our patents, nor can we continue to accept scans from US-based TRIOS scanners that infringe our patents. We will vigorously defend our intellectual property, whether it relates to clear aligners, dental scanners, or digital dentistry more broadly."

Align believes in open systems and will continue to work with other intraoral scanning companies who are interested in developing interoperability with Invisalign treatment and are willing to respect Align's intellectual property. We have defined a qualification process for scan quality and accuracy to ensure a specific scanning technology can adequately replace PVS impressions in Invisalign case submissions. Align's own iTero scanner, the Sirona Cerec Omnicam and 3M True Definition scanner are all qualified for the Invisalign workflow.

On November 14, Align Technology filed six patent infringement lawsuits asserting 26 patents against 3Shape asserting that 3Shape's TRIOS intraoral scanning system and Dental System software infringe Align patents. Align filed two Section 337 complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that 3Shape violates U.S. trade laws by selling for importation and importing its infringing TRIOS intraoral scanning system and Dental System software. Align's ITC complaints seek cease and desist orders and exclusion orders prohibiting the importation of 3Shape's TRIOS scanning system and Dental System software products into the U.S. Align also filed four separate complaints in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware alleging patent infringement by 3Shape's TRIOS intraoral scanning system and Dental System software. On December 13, 2017, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) voted to institute two investigations of alleged patent infringement by 3Shape. We expect that within the next two months, the assigned administrative law judges will set target dates for completing the investigations.

* In response to feedback received from dental organizations and customers and Align's desire to minimize customer and patient inconvenience, Align has extended the cut-off date for accepting TRIOS scans until January 31, 2018, from January 17 as originally communicated.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Is Technology Expensive?

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I’m sometimes asked shy I’m such a believer in technology when it costs so much.  Wouldn’t the doctor be better off just putting the dollars in their pocket or spending the money on marketing?
As an example I list the picture above.  This is a picture I snapped recently from my own office.  The photo shows 2 Spectra Caries Detection Devices and 2 Polaris Intraoral Cameras.  Retail price of these devices in total is probably around $17,000 US.  These 4 devices are all about 10 years old and the reason they are shown here is that they no longer work.  That’s not a reflection on the manufacturer, Air Techniques, that a simple factor of age and use.
Is that a lot of money, yes it is.  However, how I see them not as an expenditure, but as an investment.  These devices worked hard for 10 years helping to better educate and to provide better diagnoses for my patients.  Simply put, I feel that spending that money was absolutely the right thing to do.
I would much rather have referrals from good communications and advanced diagnosis with my patients than anything that can be gleaned via a slick marketing program.  Oh and yes, these devices have already been replaced.  I now have newer versions of these devices in service and being used every day.
We are visual creatures and being able to communicate visually with our patients is one of the best things we can do.  Informed patients make better decisions and that allows doctors to provide better care.  It’s really a very simple equation.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The top 10 developments in dental technology in 2017

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We’ve put together a lot of really great articles at DPR in the last year.  For this post, I thought I’d share one of our Top 10 Lists.
When we visited the topic of the latest advancements in dentistry for Digital Esthetics earlier this year, the conclusion was that the industry was in a bit of a lull.

Maybe “lull” is the wrong word. Maybe, instead of a flow of technology, the industry was now in the ebb. 

It was a time to take stock of what was available and figure out what pieces to incorporate into the workflow and what pieces could wait. It was a time for professionals to get a solid command of the tools in their arsenal, a time when they were becoming acquainted with their technologies rather than being introduced.

For the full article head on over to DPR.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Top 5 Test Drives of 2017

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Top Five Test Drives for 2017

Wow, time sure flies when you are having fun!  Oh, and what could be more fun at this time of year then to discuss technology?  I personally cannot think of anything better.  Especially for this issue as it’s time once again for the Technology Evangelist’s Top 5 Test Drives.

Every year I get to evaluate lots of gear.  Sometimes I see game changers and sometimes I see things that I’m not so impressed by.  However, all the products I look at receive a fair and equitable review.  Clinical products receive a fair amount of bench testing before ever being used in the mouth while non-clinical products get put through their paces as suggested by the manufacturer and then I start pushing them to see how far I can go before something goes wrong.

One thing I want you to remember is these aren’t the only great products I’ve seen this year, but they are the Five Best.  OK, now let’s get started.

For the rest of this article, head on over to Dental Products Report.  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Starting the New Year with a Good Lesson on Scams

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In the highspeed high-tech world we live in, it’s easy to get sometimes fooled into releasing some info that you really shouldn’t have.  Almost everyone I know has fallen for some type of scam.  Some have been tiny and others have cost folks a few dollars.  Fortunately, I’ve never know anyone to fall for a serious loss of money or a complete ransacking of their identity, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  Heck, I just recently read an article that said the infamous “Nigerian Prince Scam” is still bilking over trusting people out of millions of dollars.
That article led me down the scam rabbit hole and I thought I’d share a link to something I enjoyed.  You know, the problem with scams is as soon as we get one figured out, there is another one coming down the pipe.  It’s an unfortunate game of cat and mouse that we play against the less honest individuals among us.  It’s a constant series of adjustments & counter adjustments.  Unfortunately it’s the way the world works and, at least for now, we’re stuck in this cycle.
Anyway, my reading ended taking me back to USA Today where they have a very good article about 5 scams that are out there, but maybe you haven’t heard of yet.  I found this article pretty enlightening and I thought you would enjoy it too.  The real takeaway here is that you cannot be too careful.  As the old adage goes “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you!”