Tuesday, November 30, 2021

SprintRay Announces Global Distribution Partnership with Nobel Biocare

 For the last 3 years or so I have been using SprintRay 3D printers.  We do all kinds of cool things with them in the office and they are workhorse products.  They are incredibly accurate, easy to use, and they just keep working!

I was excited to recently learn that the SprintRay folks now have a distribution partnership with Nobel Biocare.  Read on for the details...


SprintRay Inc., an industry leader in digital dentistry and 3D printing solutions, today announced a partnership with Nobel Biocare, a world leader in the field of innovative implant-based patient solutions for tooth replacement. As part of the partnership, Nobel Biocare will become an authorized distributor of all of SprintRay's innovative 3D printing technology.

"SprintRay is excited to introduce our industry leading, end-to-end 3D printing solution to Nobel Biocare's extensive global network of dental professionals," said SprintRay's Chief Growth Officer, John Cox. "This partnership extends SprintRay's reach and penetration into implant dentistry – one of the industry's fastest growing segments."

Together, SprintRay and Nobel Biocare will deliver best-in-class implant workflow solutions to patients around the world. The combination of Nobel Biocare's innovative implant solutions, combined with SprintRay's frictionless 3D printing technology, will result in reduced implant delivery times, same-day placement of implants and highly accurate guided surgery templates. While historically, traditional dental implant procedures take months to complete, through Sprint Ray and Nobel Biocare's collaboration, patients can receive same-day, chairside care through 3D printed surgical guides and immediate implant restorations.

"Nobel Biocare has a philosophy of continuous innovation, driven by patient need," said Patrik Eriksson, Nobel Biocare's president. "We are proud to partner with SprintRay and to distribute their 3D printing technology, which can drastically reduce time to teeth."

"Practicing dentists have always had to manage the competing interests of speed versus accuracy and quality," said Dr. Kenneth Parrish, DMD, PhD. "As the only 3D printing manufacturer dedicated to dental applications, SprintRay understands the challenges faced in day-to-day practice. Time consuming emergency work-ins to your schedule can now be replaced by the touch of a button to easily and cost effectively create and deliver a replacement restoration, saving chair time and eliminating patient frustration."

SprintRay's recently launched ProCure 2, the most advance curing system available today that reduces curing times to five minutes, will be offered as part of the partnership. The ProCure 2 enables same-day placement of dental implants and allows for Nobel Biocare's All-on-4® restorations to take place in one appointment.


Monday, November 29, 2021

MouthWatch Demonstrates How TeleDent™ Connects Patients Across All Healthcare Touchpoints to Dental Care


 


One of the things I've learned over the past couple of years... I've had some relative end up in skilled nursing facilities.  There is not a great deal of attention, at least in the facilities that I have visited in the last 2-3 years, on oral health or dental care.

That situation is only going to get worse in the next few years because of the incredible progress we've seen in our medical care.  Folks are living longer than ever before and because of that, there is going to be a much increased need for dental care in those facilities.  We are constantly discovering ways to include the lifespan of our population.  That is a wonderful blessing for many, but we have not been as able to increase ways to deal with dental problems in that population.  How are we going to be able to examine and diagnose problems in a patient population that may not be able to physically enter a dental office?

The other thing I've learned... and we have ALL learned, is that there are certain times where we NEED to be physically separated from others.  What if a patient that is Covid-19 positive has sudden swelling from a large carious lesion?

The above two examples are the reason why dentistry already needs, and will continue to need and improve upon the concept of remote communication and triage.

One of my favorites in the remote dental space is Teledent.  As a member of the Cellerant Best of Class voting panel, I've been part of us voting Teledent as the Best of Class winner for two years in a row.  Part of the reason for that is the company's focus on innovation and improvement year after year.  During the Greater New York Dental Meeting that started on Sunday, the company has announced even more innovation.

Here is what the company has to say:

 MouthWatch, LLC a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, will be highlighting its enhanced TeleDent platform which continues to connect individual practices and multi-location dental groups to innovative opportunities for improving dental care delivery. 

Dental decision makers can learn more about how teledentistry is making convenient access to care a reality in sustainable, profitable ways. MouthWatch will be demonstrating these new enhancements during the Greater New York Dental Meeting at booth #3121.

According to MouthWatch Founder and CEO Brant Herman, “The latest TeleDent enhancements were designed to encourage frequent, convenient, and visually enriched communication between providers and patients and ultimately persuade patients to be more actively engaged in improving their oral health, no matter where they might be.” 

The latest TeleDent™ enhancements can deliver the following benefits:

Deploy across multiple locations and a variety of dental and medical environments
• Improve patient retention

Attract new patients 

Increase patient value  

Boost operatory efficiency and production

Enhance care plan acceptance

Minimize operatory use for consultations

Reactivate lapsed patients and delayed treatment plans

Share dental care communications with allied healthcare providers

TeleDent delivers all the benefits of a sophisticated, scalable telehealth platform to a dental care environment. For more information, visit https://www.mouthwatch.com/teledent-software/

About MouthWatch, LLC

Headquartered in Metuchen, New Jersey, MouthWatch, LLC is a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices. The company is dedicated to finding new ways to constantly improve the dental health experience for both patient and provider.

In recent years, the company received the following significant awards and accolades: The 2020 and 2021 Cellerant Best of Class Award  for TeleDent™, the provider-focused, patient-friendly teledentistry platform. In 2021, TeleDent also won Dentistry Today’s  Top 100 Products, Reader’s Choice Top 25, and Top Aesthetic and Restorative Products awards. The MouthWatch Intraoral Camera won Dentaltown Magazine’s Dental Townie Choice Award™ in 2021 and 2021 as well as Dentistry Today Magazine’s Top 100 Products Award in 2020. 

What’s more, the company’s latest product, The MouthWatch Plus+ HD intraoral camera, introduced in September of 2021, has already won a Dental Products Report Top 5 Editor’s Choice Award and  a Dentistry Today Reader’s Choice Top 25 Innovative Products Award. The company was also included in the 2020 and 2021 Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies. For more information, visit www.MouthWatch.com.




Soft Tissue Crown Lengthening Utilizing a Diode Laser

For over 20 years I have been working with lasers in my practice.  Over those years, I have used every wavelength available to dentistry in a variety of procedures.  Lasers are truly nothing short of amazing and even though I have used them for an incredible number of different applications, I am sometimes still amazed at what they can accomplish.  Today I'd like to discuss one of the best applications for soft tissue lasers in dentistry.

The concept of soft tissue crown lengthening can give patients an incredible smile with noticeable results from an aesthetic standpoint while leaving no trace of the fact that a laser was used.  Creating symmetrical gingival contours in the aesthetic zone can be difficult to accomplish with most standard modalities, but with a diode laser it is fast, easy, and predictable.  Here is something I've put together that helps explain things:


Diode lasers offer a tremendous advantage in soft tissue crown lengthening than traditional modalities. Before lasers became affordable tools for soft tissue surgery, frequently the only other options were either electrosurgery or scalpel.

The electrosurgery unit was affordable and fast, but it provided much less predictability in results. Thermal damage from the unit was the main problem. Tissue that has been burned shrinks upon healing as the device creates an area of necrosis. This leads to uneven and asymmetrical results that are not in line with cosmetic principles.

Similar problems exist with the scalpel option. Tissue that is cut under strict sterile surgical conditions, even with the best of hands, can heal unevenly. This tendency to heal unevenly can necessitate the need for “touch up” surgery to create a more even healing and appearance.

When one cannot comfortably predict where the tissue will be when it has healed, true cosmetic results are impossible to achieve.

Into this realm steps the diode laser. Lasers can provide outstanding cosmetic results without postoperative pain or touch up surgeries.

Properly used at low power, a diode laser can create an aesthetic result that leaves the healed tissue in the exact same position in 3 weeks, that it was the day of the procedure. Using low power, a diode laser can “melt’ tissue during cosmetic recontouring. This eliminates thermal damage and tissue shrinkage due to overheating.

Prior to diode lasers, cosmetic crown lengthening or cosmetic recontouring required significant healing time to not only allow the tissue to recover, but also to factor in the possible need for touchup surgeries.

However, with a diode laser, the operator can use the laser, then prep and impress on the same day knowing that on the day of delivery the tissue will be in the exact same position it was on the day of the procedure. This saves an incredible amount of time. No patient wants to wait longer to receive their new smile, yet no doctor wants to prep if they cannot predict where the gingival margin will be in three weeks.

The diode laser provides fast and predictable results that benefit both the patient and the practitioner.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

What I Am Thankful For...

 Every year here in the U.S. we have a holiday we refer to as Thanksgiving.  It is a day where we take time to think about how fortunate we are and how grateful we are for everything we have.

So I thought I would sit down and put fingers to keyboard and let all of you, who are gracious enough to read these ramblings, understand what it is that I am grateful for this year.


  • I'm thankful for my best friend... she knows who she is.
  • I'm thankful for mom & dad.  The love of a parent for their child is everlasting and cannot be described.  When you know, you know.  I went through some really tough times in my younger years and they were there... always.
  • I'm thankful for my patients.  You put your trust in me every time you see my face.. or at least *what* you can see of it.  I am so grateful for that trust and I will *never* take that trust for granted.
  • I'm thankful for the Team at my office.  I've wanted to do this since I was 3 years old and I couldn't do it without you!  We spend more time together than we do with our families and I am proud to call you all part of my extended family.  You make me happy every day as I walk into the office.
  • I'm thankful for the companies I get to work with in my consulting business.  It is such an honor to help put my DNA into products and procedures that will change the lives of patients.
  • I'm thankful for the crew that provides care for my dad.  He was there for me and now I must be there for him and thanks to all of you, I know that his golden years are full of smiles and truly caring help.
  • I'm thankful for the women and men who protect us and serve us.  Those who get up every morning knowing that they have agreed to, if necessary, lay down their lives or put themselves in harm's way to keep the rest of us safe and healthy.  It's impossible to list all of those careers, but people in the armed forces, first responders, security analysts, law enforcement, and emergency medicine professionals are some of the ones that come to mind.
  • I'm thankful for baseball and my beloved Kansas City Royals.  I great distraction when life is just too serious and too stressful.  No matter how far I may travel, there is always a baseball with me... somewhere near by.  I never really could get the hang of playing the game very well, but that doesn't mean I don't get incredible joy from watching others.
  • I'm thankful for Z-Cat, the ginger tabby who curls up next to me at night and helps with my materials experiments and video shoots.  I never thought I would be "a cat guy" until he came along.  Now those soft orange paws help to lower my stress levels when I need it most.
  • Last, but certainly not least, I'm grateful to God.  I am the luckiest man I know.  I've worked hard and I've had some good breaks come my way, but I believe there is a power in the universe that is stronger than anything else.  I believe that there are no coincidences.  I believe that there is an essence in the universe that loves us all.  I also believe that we are supposed to take care of one another and love each another... not hate each other.  Love always wins.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

SprintRay Announces Global Distribution Partnership with Nobel Biocare

I've been using SprintRay printers in my office for as long as I've been 3D printing and they are workhorse pieces of hardware in my practice.  They are durable, fast, and accurate.  We use them all the time and I have nothing but good things to say about them.  

Now comes word that they have begun working with Nobel Biocare.  Read on for the details: 


SprintRay Inc., an industry leader in digital dentistry and 3D printing solutions, today announced a partnership with Nobel Biocare, a world leader in the field of innovative implant-based patient solutions for tooth replacement. As part of the partnership, Nobel Biocare will become an authorized distributor of all of SprintRay's innovative 3D printing technology.

"SprintRay is excited to introduce our industry leading, end-to-end 3D printing solution to Nobel Biocare's extensive global network of dental professionals," said SprintRay's Chief Growth Officer, John Cox. "This partnership extends SprintRay's reach and penetration into implant dentistry – one of the industry's fastest growing segments."

Together, SprintRay and Nobel Biocare will deliver best-in-class implant workflow solutions to patients around the world. The combination of Nobel Biocare's innovative implant solutions, combined with SprintRay's frictionless 3D printing technology, will result in reduced implant delivery times, same-day placement of implants and highly accurate guided surgery templates. While historically, traditional dental implant procedures take months to complete, through Sprint Ray and Nobel Biocare's collaboration, patients can receive same-day, chairside care through 3D printed surgical guides and immediate implant restorations.

"Nobel Biocare has a philosophy of continuous innovation, driven by patient need," said Patrik Eriksson, Nobel Biocare's president. "We are proud to partner with SprintRay and to distribute their 3D printing technology, which can drastically reduce time to teeth."

"Practicing dentists have always had to manage the competing interests of speed versus accuracy and quality," said Dr. Kenneth Parrish, DMD, PhD. "As the only 3D printing manufacturer dedicated to dental applications, SprintRay understands the challenges faced in day-to-day practice. Time consuming emergency work-ins to your schedule can now be replaced by the touch of a button to easily and cost effectively create and deliver a replacement restoration, saving chair time and eliminating patient frustration."

SprintRay's recently launched ProCure 2, the most advance curing system available today that reduces curing times to five minutes, will be offered as part of the partnership. The ProCure 2 enables same-day placement of dental implants and allows for Nobel Biocare's All-on-4® restorations to take place in one appointment.


Monday, November 22, 2021

Message from the ADA President


In an effort to keep people informed of what is going on in the world of the American Dental Association, I've decided to use today's post to highlight the first notification that I've received from the new ADA president, Dr. Cesar Sabates.  As regular readers will remember, Cesar and I go way, way back.  In fact we go all the way back to the days of our training when he and I were dental students together back in the 80s at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry.  I'm really proud of my friend and I proudly share his letter with all of you.



Dear Colleagues:

As we near the season of celebration and thanksgiving, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to you, ADA, for demonstrating the power of resilience over the last 20 months. The reason dentistry has weathered the storm of the pandemic is because of what I believe sets our profession apart—an ability to harness a sense of community and shared purpose to withstand even the harshest of challenges.

This sense of community and shared purpose has long defined what I consider our dental family. Like you, I saw it come to life in the darkest days of the pandemic, when the ADA rallied to keep the dental profession moving ahead when others were at a standstill. I’ve also experienced it personally—in the decades-long relationships I’ve built with patients, in the ways my colleagues have shown up for me in the most harrowing moments of my life and career, and in how I have seen my peers connect and care for each other.

As we remain hopeful about the pandemic gradually nearing its end, the ADA is emerging into a new day guided by a fresh outlook on what it means to be the leading advocate for oral health. And in my term as the ADA’s 158th president, I want to ensure that we always carry with us the unity, support, and connection that has seen us through. I believe we can foster an ADA that supports, empowers, and embraces all dentists, no matter who they are and where they are in their career journeys. What we have before us is an opportunity to build dentistry’s new day together.

Strengthening our community is both an interpersonal endeavor and a transformative one in which members’ perspectives shape how we engage and the resources we provide. The most recent example of this is the new ADA.org, which was designed based on feedback from hundreds of our dentist colleagues. ADA.org is now streamlined to put your unique interests and areas of focus at the center of every visit, whether it’s on your computer, tablet, or phone. It’s one component of our Association’s multi-year effort to modernize your experience as an ADA member, with the overall goal of powering your success.

Moving the ADA into its new day means many things right now: Meeting the demands of a changing digital environment, navigating an evolving pandemic journey, and also welcoming a new leader to the ADA team.

This week, Dr. Raymond Cohlmia, longtime ADA member and most recently the dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, began his tenure as the Association’s ninth executive director. We welcome Dr. Cohlmia, and we celebrate Dr. Kathy O’Loughlin, who has retired after 12 years in the role.

As seasons change, we reflect on what has passed and look forward to what’s to come. But for me, there is one constant: gratitude. There’s much to be grateful for, and this year, ADA family, I am especially grateful for you.

Happy holidays!


Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Blue Light Hazard: How Worried Should Dentists Be?

 I'll be the first to admit that I have had a really blessed career.  Over the years my adventures as "Technology Evangelist" have taken me in some interesting directions, taken me to some interesting places, and given me the opportunity to meet some incredibly smart & interesting people.  Today's post is sort of based on one of those people that I've been lucky enough to meet.  

I read not too long ago that medical knowledge doubles every 18 months and I'm inclined to agree with that.  With all of the research and technology at our disposal these days, research and knowledge is advancing at a blistering pace.

Because of that blistering pace, it is really nigh impossible to adequately keep up by relying on our own knowledge and/or our own ability to digest the appropriate literature and comprehend it adequately.  I know from personal experience that there are times when I must read something 2 or 3 times and then take time for the information to "gel" in my mind before I feel it is properly locked in and that I properly comprehend that information.

What this means for our learning and understanding process is that we cannot be all knowing... even in a limited subject.  Instead the world of information development has evolved to a point where we, as information consumers, need to find a person with a massive amount of "deep dive" information that we can rely on.  

Let's use dental composites and the science of adhesive dentistry as an example.  Most dentists have a pretty good idea of the overall science of what transpires when a composite restoration is bonded into or onto tooth structure.  However, there are things that are happening on a microscopic level that require a much more detailed examination to learn and the person who has done the "deep dive" into that aspect of adhesive dentistry is a dentist and researcher by the name of Richard Price.

Richard is one of those people who, as the old saying goes, has probably forgotten more on adhesive dentistry than many of us will ever know.  Last week, he reached out to me to tell me about a presentation he had given at the 2021 IADR meeting.  The lecture was given by Dr. Price and Dr. Jack Ferracane.  Dr. Ferracane is also a friend and someone I highly respect.

For quite some time there has been a debate in the field as to whether the light that is emitted from a dental during light might be dangerous to the eyes and this video covers that topic.

This lecture is about 18.5 minutes long and is definitely worth your time to view.  Rather than putting a viewing window in this post, I think it is just easier to provide with a link to the YouTube video itself.  Click here and make sure you have something available to take notes with.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

New Product Announcement from Ivoclar Vivadent - The VivaScan Intraoral Scanner

 

I am a *huge* fan of digital impressions.  So much so in fact that my office has 2 scanners that we use all the time.  Our scanning became such a big part of what we do that having just one was slowing us down a bit.

Now we've got a new scanner on the market and it comes from a company that carries a lot of weight in the industry.  

Ivoclar Vivadent has announced the VivaScan intraoral scanner.  I don't have any personal hands-on experience with the device, but the company has provided some information about it.  

The device is plug and play which means you can easily move it from operatory to operatory by simply unplugging one cable.  It also has 2 different sized tips - normal and small making scans easier is smaller mouths.

It is also easy to integrate the system with Ivoclar Cloud which stores the files and can also send them to the dental lab of choice and the files are in an open format making them easy to access by whoever needs them.

No word on price as of yet.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

State of Maine Excludes Dentistry from Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

A bit of a short post today as most of the info is coming from another page... 

The State of Maine has created a "vaccine mandate" that determines what professions have a requirement to have their employees vaccinated against Covid-19.  Last week the state released its final vaccination rule and that rule does not include dentistry. 

This means that dental practices in the state of Maine are not required to ensure that their employees are vaccinated.  In some states vaccination is a requirement for any and all healthcare workers and those who do not comply are terminated.  Allowing an employee in those states to continue working without vaccination is a violation of law.

However, that is not the case for dentistry in the state of Maine.  

The Maine Dental Association has section of their homepage dedicated to this topic along with several links to other sites that go into greater detail on the situation.  If you'd like to read the info from the Maine Dental Association you can follow this link.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

onDiem’s Digital ID Service Helps Practices and Employees Maintain 
Compliance With New State COVID-19 Mandates

 As the federal government debates COVID-19 vaccination mandates on a national level, six states have forged ahead with their own complex mandates, leaving health care facility owners, employers, and workers scrambling to understand how to both verify and track necessary documents to maintain compliance. onDiem, a national dental staffing platform known for its automated staffing compliance innovations, has introduced a solution. 

Starting this month, onDiem is offering dental practices free access to its new COVID-19 records tracking service for a limited period of time. Practices will be able to invite their employees to upload documents such as a COVID-19 vaccination card, exemption request, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test—or upload those documents on workers’ behalf. Furthermore, practices will be able to verify and approve workers’ documents and store them for future access.

onDiem’s COVID-19 records tracking service is part of a larger Digital ID credentialing service that launched earlier this year. That service uses automated primary source verification to monitor current state licenses and check compliance with regulating entities like OIG, SAM, DEA, and NPI. onDiem customers who opt into the Digital ID service will automatically have access to the new COVID-19 feature.

“These mandates came on pretty fast,” said Joe Fogg, CEO and Founder of onDiem. “I kept finding myself in conversations with customers who were worried about their ability to keep up with all of the different compliance measures.”

“As employers of dental professionals ourselves, we were already working on expanding our Digital ID service to include a new solution that would allow temp professionals to share their COVID-19 records with us to confirm their eligibility to work in mandate states,” said Fogg. “Extending that service to our practice customers just seemed like the right thing to do—not just for them, but for their employees, and for the industry in general.”

To learn more about onDiem or Digital ID, or to create a free account, visit onDiem.com. 


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

American Academy of Implant Dentistry 2021 Annual Conference - Virtual Experience

 Do you place implants in your practice?  Do you restore implants in your practice?  If your answer to either of those questions is "yes" than you should give serious consideration to attending this conference.  AAID is a great way to bring yourself up to speed on the latest and best products and techniques for this aspect of clinical dentistry.  Keep yourself on the leading edge!!!

For 70 years, the AAID has gathered talented and strong-minded individuals to collaborate, educate, and elevate one another’s practices to optimize patient care. We are excited to bring our annual conference back in-person to Chicago November 10 to 13. But creating a safe environment is our key concern, which is why our Annual Conference will include a virtual option. Virtual attendees can earn up to 19 CE credit hours!

Our theme, Pursuing Implant Competency, will focus on four key elements:

Mentoring Transformations

Navigating Complications

Global Perspectives

Clinical Innovations

While this one event provides you with implant-focused education and opportunities to interact with your peers and vendors from around the world, you have two options to participate. 

YOU CHOOSE whether to attend in-person or virtually:

Come to Chicago for a safety-enhanced, traditional conference experience, or

Connect with us online for the same main podium content, virtual-only extras, and the convenience of attending from anywhere.

Virtual Experience:

Virtual attendance means you can experience the conference without the travel and create a learning path that is more flexible. The conference is truly your own experience. You will have access to:

All main podium presentations which will be live-streamed

Additional sessions and lectures as well as on-demand content

Enjoy the sessions at your own pace, with recordings available through November 30th. (Extended access through February 28, 2022 is available for an additional fee.)

Implant Expo:

Our Implant Expo will have double the opportunities for interaction this year! The exhibit hall in Chicago will offer our on-site attendees the chance to explore products, resources, and information relevant to their patients' needs. Virtual attendees can visit these same booths online, and both audiences will have the chance to engage with our vendors before and after the meeting for extended interaction.

Follow this link to register!!!  

Monday, November 8, 2021

How to Lie on a Bed of Nails - The Laws of Physics Applied

 As I have said here several times before, I flat out *love* Wired magazine.  I've been a subscriber since the mid 1990s (I think, maybe longer) and I try to read every issue.

Lately they've taken to using science and more directly, physics, to explain things we see or do every day that are fascinating, but we don't give that much thought to.  The author of these articles is Rhett Allain.  He is an associate professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University and a pretty entertaining writer as well.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been some mainstream news media stories about some photos and videos released by North Korea that show some of their soldiers doing  some pretty incredible things.  In today's world it's hard to believe anything you see whether it's still photos or video.  Our ability to edit digital media allows us to warp reality to pretty much whatever we'd like.

To that end, the North Korean videos look pretty amazing.  One in particular shows a soldier lying on a bed of nails with a large brick on his abdomen.  The brick is then smashed by another soldier wielding a sledge hammer.

Professor Allain does an amazing job of how these things are possible with minimal risk by utilizing the laws of physics to prove his point.

Check it out over at Wired.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Henry Schein Reports Record Third-Quarter 2021 Financial Results From Continuing Operations

The profession of dentistry took a big financial hit during the spring and summer of 2020.  The pandemic forced closures of dental offices and mandated lockdowns kept everyone at home and the only dental treatment being done was on emergency patients.  This helped keep folks with dental problems out of crowded emergency rooms giving hospitals more time for treatment of Covid-19 patients as well as keeping those dental patients from being exposed to the SARS-Cov-2 virus that might have been present in the hospitals.

Offices opened again around June, but many patients, still concerned about Covid-19 stayed away from dental offices.  Then, six months after the original shutdown, we saw dental offices dealing with the "six month recall reflection".  Since patients were not in offices for hygiene visits in March through May, no one made their second six month cleaning appointment of the year which resulted in a slow autumn for many offices.

Now we are seeing dentistry rebound in a big way.  As people become more comfortable with being out of their homes, dentistry is seeing patient flows return to pre-pandemic levels.  This is best reflected in the numbers that dentists spend on supplies, especially disposables that are tied directly to patient appointments.  The following is a news release from the world's largest dental supplier, Henry Schein.



Henry Schein, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC), the world’s largest provider of health care solutions to office-based dental and medical practitioners, today reported record third-quarter financial results from continuing operations. Results from continuing operations exclude contributions from Henry Schein’s former Animal Health business, which was spun off in February 2019 to form a new publicly traded company, Covetrus (Nasdaq: CVET).

Total net sales for the quarter ended September 25, 2021, were $3.2 billion, up 11.9% compared with the third quarter of 2020. The 11.9% increase included 7.2% internal growth in local currencies, 3.9% growth from acquisitions and 0.8% growth related to foreign currency exchange. (See Exhibit A for details of sales growth.)

GAAP net income attributable to Henry Schein, Inc. from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2021 was $162.3 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, compared with prior-year GAAP net income attributable to Henry Schein, Inc. from continuing operations of $141.7 million, or $0.99 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2021 was $154.8 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, compared with prior-year non-GAAP net income from continuing operations of $147.0 million, or $1.03 per diluted share. Exhibit B provides a reconciliation of GAAP net income and diluted EPS from continuing operations to non-GAAP net income and diluted EPS from continuing operations.

“Today we reported record third-quarter financial results, driven by a keen focus on execution by Team Schein and steady patient traffic, resulting in excellent momentum across the entire company. We believe that patient traffic was generally similar to the previous quarter for our dental customers and is improving for our medical customers. Compared with the year-ago quarter, Henry Schein’s worldwide internal sales in local currencies increased a robust 7.2%, or 6.3% excluding sales of personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 related products,” said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein. “Our third quarter financial results are solid with growth in diluted EPS from continuing operations of 16.2% on a GAAP basis and 6.8% on a non-GAAP basis.”

Global Dental sales for the third quarter of 2021 of $1.8 billion increased 10.5% versus the prior-year period. In local currencies, internally generated sales increased 5.2% with 3.9% growth from acquisitions and 1.4% growth related to foreign currency exchange. The 5.2% internal growth in local currencies included growth of 4.7% in North America and 5.9% internationally.

Global Dental consumable merchandise internal sales growth was 2.9% in local currencies. Excluding sales of PPE and COVID-19 related products, internal sales growth in local currencies was 4.8%. In North America, dental consumable merchandise internal sales in local currencies increased 3.9%, and 5.7% when excluding sales of PPE and COVID-19 related products, and dental equipment internal sales in local currencies increased 7.8%. Internationally, dental consumable merchandise internal sales in local currencies increased 1.3%, and 3.5% when excluding sales of PPE and COVID-19 related products, and dental equipment internal sales in local currencies increased 23.9%.

“North America dental consumable merchandise internal sales growth in local currencies with and without PPE and COVID-19 related products was solid in the third quarter. Consumable merchandise sales continued to improve, which we believe were bolstered by a steady flow of patient traffic,” said Mr. Bergman. “North America dental equipment sales growth reflected strong sales of high-technology equipment and modest growth of traditional equipment sales which remain impacted by equipment manufacturing and office construction delays. Overall gains in consumable merchandise and equipment sales in North America and International markets reflect the continuing recovery of underlying markets.”

Global Medical sales for the third quarter of 2021 of $1.2 billion increased 15.5% versus the comparable period last year, consisting of 13.1% internal growth in local currencies and 2.4% growth from acquisitions. There was no impact related to foreign currency exchange. Excluding sales of PPE and COVID-19 related products, internal sales in local currencies increased 8.3%.

“Global Medical internal sales growth in local currencies for the third quarter was once again very strong, with and without sales of PPE and COVID-19 related products. Trends in the physician office, ambulatory surgery center and alternate care markets all were positive, and we have increased the number of accounts we serve and further penetrated existing accounts,” said Mr. Bergman.

Global Technology and Value-Added Services sales of $168.6 million increased 21.9% versus the prior-year quarter and included 6.3% internal sales growth in local currencies, 14.7% growth from acquisitions and 0.9% growth related to foreign currency exchange.

“Global Technology and Value-Added Services sales growth was driven by the acquisitions we made over the past year in software analytics and by expanding our range of dental practice solutions. We also saw solid sales growth in Dentrix technical support, our Dentrix Ascend cloud solution and our Software of Excellence business in the UK,” added Mr. Bergman.

Stock Repurchase Plan

During the third quarter of 2021, the Company repurchased approximately 650,000 shares of its common stock at an average price of $76.77 per share, for a total of approximately $50 million. The impact of the repurchase of shares on third-quarter diluted EPS was immaterial. At the end of the third quarter, Henry Schein had approximately $350 million authorized and available for future stock repurchases.

Year-to-Date Financial Results

Net sales from continuing operations for the first nine months of 2021 were $9.1 billion, an increase of 30.4% compared with the first nine months of 2020. The 30.4% increase included 24.0% internal growth in local currencies, 4.1% growth from acquisitions and 2.3% growth related to foreign currency exchange.

GAAP net income attributable to Henry Schein, Inc. from continuing operations for the first nine months of 2021 was $484.0 million, or $3.40 per diluted share, compared with GAAP net income attributable to Henry Schein, Inc. from continuing operations of $260.9 million, or $1.82 per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2020. Non-GAAP net income from continuing operations for the first nine months of 2021 was $489.9 million, or $3.45 per diluted share, compared with non-GAAP net income from continuing operations of $281.7 million, or $1.97 per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2020. Non-GAAP results for the first nine months of 2021 and 2020 exclude certain items noted in Exhibit B, which provides a reconciliation of GAAP net income and diluted EPS from continuing operations to non-GAAP net income and diluted EPS from continuing operations.

2021 Financial Guidance

Henry Schein today increases guidance for 2021 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations. At this time, the Company is not providing guidance for 2021 GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations as it is unable to provide without unreasonable effort an estimate of costs related to an ongoing restructuring initiative, including the corresponding tax effect. Financial guidance is as follows:

2021 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations is expected to be $4.27 to $4.35, reflecting growth of 44% to 46% compared with 2020 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations of $2.97. This compares with previous guidance for 2021 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations to be at or above $3.85.

Guidance for 2021 non-GAAP diluted EPS is for current continuing operations as well as completed or previously announced acquisitions and does not include the impact of future share repurchases, potential future acquisitions, if any, or restructuring expenses. Guidance also assumes that foreign currency exchange rates are generally consistent with current levels, that end markets remain stable and are consistent with current market conditions, and that there are no material adverse market changes associated with COVID-19.

2022 Financial Guidance

Henry Schein today introduces preliminary guidance for 2022 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations. At this time, the Company is not providing guidance for 2022 GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations as it is unable to provide without unreasonable effort an estimate of restructuring costs for 2021, including the corresponding tax effect, which serves as the basis for 2022 GAAP diluted EPS guidance. Financial guidance is as follows:

Growth in 2022 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations in the mid to high single digits over 2021 non-GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations.

Preliminary guidance for 2022 non-GAAP diluted EPS growth is for current continuing operations as well as completed or previously announced acquisitions and does not include the impact of future share repurchases, potential future acquisitions, if any, or restructuring expenses. Preliminary guidance also assumes that foreign currency exchange rates are generally consistent with current levels, that end markets remain stable and are consistent with current market conditions, and that there are no material adverse market changes associated with COVID-19.

Adjustments to Projected 2021 and 2022 Non-GAAP Diluted EPS

The Company has provided guidance for 2021 and preliminary guidance for 2022 diluted EPS from continuing operations on a non-GAAP basis, as noted above. A reconciliation to the Company’s projected 2021 diluted EPS from continuing operations prepared on a GAAP basis is not provided because the Company is unable to provide without unreasonable effort an estimate of costs related to an ongoing restructuring initiative to mitigate stranded costs and drive additional operating efficiencies, including the corresponding tax effect that will be included in the Company’s 2021 diluted EPS from continuing operations prepared on a GAAP basis. A reconciliation to the Company’s projected 2022 diluted EPS from continuing operations prepared on a GAAP basis is not provided because the Company is unable to provide without unreasonable effort an estimate of restructuring costs for 2021, including the corresponding tax effect, which serves as a basis of 2022 GAAP diluted EPS guidance. The inability to provide these reconciliations is due to the uncertainty and inherent difficulty of predicting the occurrence, magnitude, financial impact and timing of related costs. Management does not believe these items are representative of the Company’s underlying business performance. For the same reasons, the Company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information, which could be material to future results.

Third-Quarter 2021 Conference Call Webcast

The Company will hold a conference call to discuss third-quarter 2021 financial results today, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. Individual investors are invited to listen to the conference call through Henry Schein’s website by visiting www.henryschein.com/IRwebcasts. In addition, a replay will be available beginning shortly after the call has ended for a period of one week.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Owandy Radiology Showcasing Its Integrated Dental Implant Digital Workflow System During GNYDM 2021

 Owandy Radiology Inc., a global leader in the manufacture of dental radiology hardware and imaging software, will be highlighting how its QuickVision 3D implant planning software serves as the hub of its fully-integrated dental implant digital workflow system at booth #3923 during the Greater New York Dental Meeting. 

According to Owandy company spokesperson, Boris Loyez, “In recent years, Owandy has been rapidly expanding its hardware and software offerings to deliver a complete digital workflow solution specifically for implantologists. Our open-architecture QuickVision 3D implant planning software can serve as the heart of the Owandy product suite or be integrated with existing equipment to expand the digital workflow capabilities and overall efficiency of the modern dental implant practice.”

The Owandy digital workflow system incorporates five steps and corresponding solutions:

DICOM Data Acquisition: This entails CBCT exploration by using Owandy’s I-Max 3-D or I-Max Ceph 3D. Each CBCT unit provides a comprehensive clinical patient view that is ideal for implant surgery. 

.STL Data Acquisition: Owandy’s compatibility with any intraoral scanner, including the MEDIT i700 and its Medit Link software, enables seamless integration with its QuickVision 3D software for the simplified acquisition and utilization of patient data. 

Implant Planning: Owandy’s QuickVision 3D software enables accurate and predictable restorative treatment planning and includes a complete cloud-based implant manufacturer library and bone density measurement guide. 

Surgical Guide Design: QuickVision 3D software also guides the user through the treatment planning and surgical guide processes with an intuitive interface.

File Export for Manufacturing: Owandy’s QuickVision 3D software creates a comprehensive planned treatment report and surgical guide in .STL format within seconds, which can then be sent to a lab, shared with a colleague, or sent to a 3D printer. 

For more information about the Owandy' digital workflow system for dental implants, stop by booth #3923 during the Greater New York Dental Meeting. During GNYDM, Owandy will be running several show specials, download the flyer at www.owandy.com/usa/offers. You can also learn more about the full line of Owandy products by visiting www.Owandy.com, calling 516-858-5695 or sending an e-mail at sales@owandyus.com.  Distributor inquiries are always welcome.


About Owandy Radiology, Inc.:

Headquartered in France, and serving North America from Roslyn, New York, Owandy Radiology is a global leader in the manufacture of dental radiology hardware and imaging software. Its products are distributed through dental dealers across the USA, and in 80 countries world-wide, on every continent. For more information, visit www.Owandy.com.

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

LightForce Orthodontics Secures $50 Million Series C Funding Led By Kleiner Perkins

 Investment fuels further development of 3D printing technology as well as expanding service, training and education for customer community 

BURLINGTON, Mass. - Nov. 2, 2021 - LightForce Orthodontics, makers of the world’s only fully customized 3D printed bracket system, today announced that the company raised a $50 million Series C round led by Kleiner Perkins, one of the most prestigious venture capitalist firms in the world. The investment follows on the heels of LightForce posting over a 500% revenue growth rate during the past year in which the company developed two new products and grew their team year over year by 300%. The new funds will further support existing LightForce customers with expanded service, training and education. 

“LightForce was founded to provide fully customized, USA-made treatment options for orthodontists interested in offering modern, digital treatment to their patients,” said LightForce CEO and co-founder Dr. Alfred Griffin III, DMD, PhD, MMSc. “The investment allows us to continue creating mass-customized brackets that enable orthodontists to provide a personalized patient experience within an industry that has not evolved the use of brackets in the last 25 years. In fact, without LightForce, patients today would likely be wearing the same sort of brackets their parents did back when they were teenagers. With these new funds, LightForce will further champion the unmet needs of the modern teen market by complimenting aligner cases and allowing orthodontists to take their practices fully digital. A patient’s teeth are all unique as snowflakes, and now doctors have the technology to account for that individualism in their treatment plan, just as they have with their aligner cases. We are excited to continue implementing 3D printing technology in orthodontics in new and innovative ways to create a new standard of care for all braces patients.” 

Since no set of teeth is the same and 70% of patients require braces instead ofaligners, LightForce’s 3D printing technology enables complete and infinite personalization for each patient. One of LightForce’s biggest differentiators is its ability to 3D print brackets that fit the unique tooth morphology of each patient, customization that would otherwise be unavailable to patients with traditional braces. LightForce’s dynamic and modern technology provides a patient-specific alternative to traditional braces, ensuring that today’s patients will not need to endure the dated “one-size-fits-all” approach to braces that often fails to meet the patient experience and efficient clinical outcomes. As a result, patients and doctors are able to see shorter treatment times, fewer appointments, better outcomes, and an overall more efficient and comfortable experience. In an industry where precision is key, 3D printing allows orthodontists to fine tune each tooth movement down to a micron, one-thousandth of a millimeter, resulting in a balanced bite and smile tailored to each unique patient. 

“LightForce’s innovative approach to an industry that has lacked technological disruptiveness for the past 25 years is what initially attracted us to this investment opportunity,” said Wen Hsieh, partner, Kleiner Perkins. “Having previously-invested in the first digital revolution of orthodontics decades ago through Align Technology, Kleiner Perkins is excited to invest in the second-wave of orthodontics digitization through Lightforce. We’re excited to partner with Co-Founder-CEO Alfred Griffin and the Lightforce team to leverage the latest 3D printing technology to further enhance the doctor and patient experience with bracket-based orthodontics." 

Digital customization with 3D printing offers several key advantages to doctors and patients that work with LightForce, including: 

● Scalable and Efficient Treatments, allowing doctors to reach new levels of efficiency without sacrificing product quality or patient comfort.    

●  Patient-Specific Prescriptions means that treatment plans are designed with proprietary software, combined with advanced 3D printing technology, to create precise and fully custom treatments for every patient. 


●  Digitizing Fixed Appliances bring the planning simplicity, practice consistency and ease of use seen today in direct-to-consumer aligners into the world of fixed appliances.


 In the last year, LightForce has developed additional orthodontic advancements such as the Light Bracket, which is their line of translucent brackets. The Light Bracket is a more aesthetic option that blends in with the color of a patient’s teeth, reducing the visibility of treatment. 

For more information about LightForce Orthodontics, please visit www.lightforceortho.com/. Orthodontists interested in adding LightForce’s technology to their practice should reach out here. For photos and videos, click here. 

About LightForce Orthodontics

LightForce Orthodontics is a digital platform providing orthodontists with fully customized, 3D printed tooth- moving tools. Founded in 2015 by Dr. Alfred Griffin, DMD, PhD, MMSc, along with Dr. Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, LightForce is revolutionizing the specialty through advanced manufacturing and technology. After five years of extensive research and development, LightForce launched their first product to the Orthodontic market- the world’s first and only fully customized 3D printed bracket system and digital treatment software. Learn more at www.lightforceortho.com


Monday, November 1, 2021

Biden White House Removes Proposal of Dental Benefit in Medicare from Build Back Better Proposal


 For the last several months, as President Biden has worked toward his major spending package of, among other things, infrastructure and healthcare, there have been concerns in the dental industry of dental benefits being forced through as part of Medicaid.

Since dentistry as a profession is far removed and separate from the practice of medicine, rules and regulations that govern medicine as part of Medicare would be completely unsuited for dentistry.  Basically it would be forcing a square peg (dentistry) into the round hole of Medicare.

The differences between the two professions and the way they practice would mean than many of the regulations set up to govern medicine and its relationship to the federal government payment system would be completely non-feasible for dentistry.

The amount of work it would take from the federal government as well as from dentistry would be extremely difficult to meet with the laws the way they are at the current time.  I am grateful that the American Dental Association has met with the administration and explained the difficulties of implementing the current proposal.  This would have been a disaster for both patients and the doctors that care for them.

I could type several more paragraphs and *possibly* manage to somewhat explain why this plan would not work for all concerned, but the ADA has done a much better job of this than I probably ever could.  If you would like to read the organization's FAQ on the ADA's Medicare Benefit Proposal, follow the link.  

The American Dental Association does an outstanding job of looking out for patients and for the profession of dentistry.  This is another example of why I gladly pay my dues each and every year.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

It's Time to Renew my Antivirus and I'm Renewing Emsisoft


For a while now, I've had Emsisoft guarding my Windows computers.  If you aren't a diehard geek like myself, you may be asking "why?" and "who is this Emsisoft?"

I'll answer the second question first.  Emsisoft is an incredible antivirus company based out of New Zealand.  Their AV solution is powerful and it works.  Plus it doesn't get itself insidiously wrapped all around your operating system so that you can't get rid of it... even if you want to.  That is something many of the large companies in the AV space do.  Basically even if you uninstall some of the big boys, there are still fragments of their program floating around in your operating system and mucking things up.

Not so with Emsisoft.  They do *everything* I can ask of an AV solution.  I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, if you are looking for an AV solution, you'd be making a mistake if you didn't consider them.

Now to answer the "why" part.  In addition to their superior product offering, they are also a company that is doing the right things.  In the past year, we've seen an explosion in the number of ransomware attacks on businesses and healthcare.  If you have been paying any attention to the infused space, you've been reading about Colonial Pipeline and Kaseya.  What you *have not* read is that those companies were saved in their plights by decryption software provided by Emsisoft, free of charge.

The company has been providing *free* decryption tools for ransomware victims for a while now and this year they have become huge players in the fight against ransomware.

For the full story from Nicole Perloth (one of my favorite newspaper people and book authors) read this story she wrote for the New York Times.  

If you would like an even deeper dive into all the good things Emsisoft has done, they have an incredible blog post with even more backstory that you can access here.  

 I think after reading these stories you'll have an greater understanding of why I feel good about putting my money into a product from Emsisoft.  People helping people and striving to do the right thing is something that has been in short supply for a decade or more.  We NEED more companies like Emsisoft.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

FirstPlug® Fills the Void in Restoration Screw Channel Barrier Materials

 

One of the things dentistry has needed for a while is a reliable and easy way to fill the screw heads of implants.  Over the years I've seen several different ideas tried.  Some doctors have advocated putting small cotton pellets in the access.  Some have advocated using retraction cord.  The best idea I've seen is to use a small piece of Teflon tape that is packed into the access to protect the implant screw head.

Teflon tape can work, but it is not easy to use isn't in the best form factor for placement.  Now there is a new company in the dental industry that has a product that solves this age old problem.  It is a Teflon material specifically designed for implants.  Read on for the details on 35Newtons®...


The launch of FirstPlug® from 35Newtons®, brings a much- needed upgrade to the clinically sensitive task of filling access channels in screw retained restorations. The patented system consists of a medical grade PTFE barrier material and an instrument set optimized for packing or filling retention screw channels during restorative procedures. 

Material selection for covering implant abutment screws is important to limit leakage which has been shown to negatively impact peri-implant tissues. “None of the common materials and techniques in use today were developed specifically for this procedure and all have their drawbacks,” said Dr. Jim Janakievski, a Tacoma area periodontist, and co-founder of 35Newtons. For example, cotton pellets provide an ideal substrate for pathogenic oral flora to flourish, while gutta percha can be difficult to remove. “The ideal barrier material provides a good seal to limit leakage, is pliable, biologically inert, and easily retrievable,” said Dr. Alex Shor, prosthodontist and 35Newtons co-founder. 

FirstPlug is made from PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), which at a basic level is similar to the material used to make industrial plumber’s tape. “Many dentists are creative problem solvers and lacking suitable alternatives some have undoubtedly resorted to the local hardware store for an answer,” said Dr. Janakievski. “PTFE is the right material, but we feel strongly that implants and other sensitive dental procedures call for a medical grade solution.” FirstPlug PTFE is made in the USA, providing extra assurance regarding the raw material composition and manufacturing environment. 

Every detail of the FirstPlug system has been engineered to fit the clinical application. The large diameter cylindrically shaped cord seats easily in the screw channel without rolling or twisting. The medical grade PTFE has the right compression characteristics for packing and sealing the screw access chamber, as well as sufficient stiffness to support the overlying restorative materials. The accompanying instrument set includes a wide diameter barrier plugger for efficient packing of the PTFE cord, as well as a barrier excavator for easy removal when uncovering the screw to remove temporaries or replace a restoration. 

In addition to the optimized physical characteristics of the medical grade PTFE material itself, FirstPlug is manufactured, assembled, and packaged under strict medical device protocols and quality systems. “Of course, FirstPlug users appreciate the added convenience, efficiency, and clinical benefits,” said Dr Shor. “But first and foremost, we hear from our dentists that sealing implant access channels with a medical grade material, made in medical class conditions offers invaluable peace of mind.” 


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Unboxing of AMD's Monet Handheld Curing Laser - A Video Review

Curing in dentistry has come a long, long way.  When I started in practice (which was quite a while ago), I remember that curing times for composites were about 60 seconds.


In the late 90s I bought a curing laser!!!  It allowed me to cure composites in 10 seconds!!!  Unfortunately the device was also huge and ran hot.  The laser was about the size of a box of Air Jordan's (you know, the *really* big shoe box).  Needless to say, that laser did NOT move from that treatment area. There were also a couple of large fans that were needed to keep the components cool.  The fans were *really, really* noisy and the electronics ran so hot that if were did 3 or 4 restorations in one appointment, the room we were in would rise in temperature 10 degrees Fahrenheit (and I am NOT kidding about that).  I was glad I had the laser because it made me so much more efficient, but there were some definite problems with the system.  I really loved the laser, but I didn't need all the problems that came with it.

Now those problems are all in the past.  AMD has introduced the Monet handheld curing laser.  It has all of the size and ease of use of an LED curing light, with the power to cure composites in 1 second!

I recently created a video where I unbox the Monet.  My buddies at Dental Products Report have got it edited and posted.  Give it a view and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Counterfeit Nitrile Gloves have made Their Way into the U.S. Supply Chain

 Wherever there is a crisis and whenever human suffering occurs there will always be the lowest of the low working to make a profit from those situations.  In late spring of 2020 I was made aware of several situations where healthcare facilities or groups had made large orders of N-95 equivalent masks from overseas.  When the products arrived, they were in packaging from well known and reputable companies.  However, even though the masks looked legitimate, they were anything but.

Analysis by reputable third party labs in the U.S. revealed the masks to be counterfeit and worthless.  This didn't happen once, no unfortunately it happened many times.  The money paid to the companies that supplied the masks was lost and the legitimate manufacturers whose packaging was forged also suffered from the bad publicity even though they had done nothing wrong.

Now, comes word via an investigation from CNN that a scandal has rocked the nitrite glove market.

A quick primer for any of you reading this who do not have a healthcare background.  Gloves became a required part of PPE protocol for dentistry in the 80s.  From that point until the early 2000s, the most common type of glove was latex.  They were practical, had good dexterity, and were plentiful to obtain.  However, as latex became more and more common in healthcare, more and more people developed allergies to the substance through environmental contact.  As the allergies became more and more common healthcare began to more away from latex and to utilize nitrile instead.

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that is bit more expensive than latex, but offers the same advantages.  I switched my office from latex to nitrile due to the risk of patients or staff having anaphylactic reactions to latex and also because I felt that nitrile actually provided better tactile sensation.  Then in 2016 the FDA banned powdered latex gloves in healthcare.  This meant that the demand for latex gloves dropped while demand for nitrile increased proportionately.

Fast forward to 2020 and the onslaught of SARS-Cov-2.  The pandemic dramatically increased the demand for gloves and the market struggled under that demand.  There was also the strain put on the supply chain as businesses were shut down due to the pandemic.  I heard stories of some glove factories being temporarily closed due to the pandemic.  So, as we were seeing an increased demand for nitrile gloves the manufacturing piece of the supply chain was not able to meet demand.

This lack of supply and increased demand opened the door for criminals and scammers who were only too happy to try and make money from the situation.  These situations exist in almost all aspects of our society, but there is something really awful about people not only unethically stealing, but also putting the welfare of others at risk at the same time.

CNN is reporting that criminals have setup companies that attempt to clean or color used medical gloves and resell them as new to unsuspecting U.S. distributors.  They try to wash the gloves or re-dye them by trying to use food coloring.  Some U.S. distributors have opened boxes to find gloves that are torn or even stained by blood.  The companies doing this have demanded payment in advance so U.S. distributors are out the money... sometimes millions of dollars.

I would expect this to become a pretty big story, at least in healthcare circles.  You can read the entire story at the CNN link.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Vivos Therapeutics and Candid Announce Strategic Collaboration to Deliver A Comprehensive Sleep Apnea and Orthodontic Treatment Solution

At the recently concluded Smilecon that was held October 11-13, I had a chance to meet and speak with a company that I hadn't heard of before.  It's a clear aligner company called Candid.  One of the things about this company that intrigued me is the way they track progress of patients' treatment.  As part of the procedure, they give the patient a device that attaches to their smartphone and allows the patient to take fairly precise pictures of their teeth.  The patient places lip retractors so that the teeth are clearly visible and then take images of their teeth.  Those images can be evaluated and compared to make sure the case is progressing as planned.

I'm a big fan of clear aligners and as most of you know, I'm also a huge advocate of treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  I was intrigued to read today that Candid has now partnered with Vivos Therapeutics to allow the companies to combine their expertise in orthodontics and OSA treatment.

Read on for all the details:


Vivos Therapeutics, Inc. ("Vivos" or "the Company") (NASDAQ: VVOS), a medical technology company focused on developing and commercializing innovative diagnostic and treatment modalities for patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring, and Candid Care Co. ("Candid"), a digital platform for oral healthcare, today announced a new collaboration that will seek to provide patients with a comprehensive, whole-mouth solution to diagnose and treat OSA in adult patients and provide orthodontic treatment from the same provider network.


At the core of this collaboration, Vivos and Candid will market each company's products and areas of expertise to deliver a comprehensive sleep and oral health solution to patients in the United States and Canada. The focus of the collaboration will be Candid's CandidPro clear aligner for straightening teeth and the Vivos System for treating OSA. The two companies will also share educational resources, training, and key opinion leaders to bridge the gap between airway health and orthodontic therapy.

"By teaming with Candid, we are aiming to provide patients with access not only to our highly effective Vivos System, but also simultaneous access to CandidPro's novel orthodontic treatment. We believe the Vivos-Candid collaboration will provide for the first solution that seamlessly integrates sleep and orthodontic therapy to create better patient outcomes for treating OSA and enhance overall health and wellness across the board." said Kirk Huntsman, Vivos Chairman and CEO. "We are hopeful that this joint effort will increase market penetration and accelerate revenue growth for both companies as we each attract and expand our respective North American dental and healthcare networks."

Additionally, under the terms of the agreement, Vivos and Candid will join forces to explore new research and development opportunities for device development and other alliances related to orthodontics, OSA, and snoring. Candid will also conduct specialized training sessions at the Vivos Institute, the Company's new state-of-the-art international training center in Denver, Colorado, as well as semi-annual seminars for both dentists and medical doctors to provide additional learning opportunities.  The parties will act on a non-exclusive basis, although during the term of the agreement, Candid's aligners will become the official  clear aligner of Vivos and Vivos' oral devices and proprietary protocols will become the official sleep apnea therapy program of Candid. 

"Candid was built on a foundation of clinical excellence and has always put patient health first. Since launching Candid in 2017, my co-founders and I have strived to shine a light on the correlation between teeth alignment, oral health, and chronic illnesses, like obstructive sleep apnea. Vivos Therapeutics and Candid are where airway and sleep, oral health, and orthodontic therapy come together for the first time," added Nick Greenfield, Candid Co-Founder and CEO. "By combining Vivos' therapeutic protocol for OSA and its VIP doctor network with Candid's treatment methodology and CandidPro network, together we look forward to offering a full-service solution for patients suffering from OSA."

"As someone who focuses his practice on combining sleep-disordered breathing, orthodontics and comprehensive dentistry, I know how important it is to treat all oral health conditions as part of one comprehensive solution," concluded Dr. Ben Miraglia, DDS, Chief Clinical Consultant of Airway Health Solutions, Vivos Provider and recognized thought leader in sleep-disordered breathing, clear aligner therapy and craniofacial development. "The Vivos-Candid alliance is a true win-win for patients who are looking to improve their sleep, oral health and confidence all at the same time."


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Cesar Sabates, DDS Takes Office as the 158th President of the American Dental Association


 


Almost everyone has had the experience of knowing someone who does great things, is incredibly successful, or garners fame and fortune.  At the recent Smilecon last week in Las Vegas, one of my hosts was from Seattle and she told me the story of how a good friend of hers was the person who wrote the code for the original Solitaire game in Microsoft Windows.

I now have one of those stories too.  I went to dental school at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry.  My alma mater has a reputation of training outstanding clinical doctors, but we're not known for our leadership skills.  That simple fact means it is even more amazing that I can say with pride that I was, and am, friends with someone who has accomplished a lot in our field and has summited to the pinnacle of leadership.

On Saturday October 16, 2021 my friend Dr. Cesar Sabates was installed as the 158th president of the ADA.  He's not only the president, but he's also the only first president of Cuban-American decent.  His family came to the United States when he was a just a boy, but his family has made the most of the American dream.  They came to the U.S. in 1967 and ended up settling in the Kansas City area so that his father could attend UMKC and receive his dental degree.  Then his son followed in his footsteps.

I met Cesar in the mid-80s when I started at UMKC.  In my last two years of training, he and I were assigned to the same team which placed us in close proximity to each other on a regular basis.  He was a couple of years older than I was, plus he was married while I was single and considerably more prone to, ahem, "social exuberance".  However we struck up a bond and I always enjoyed talking with him.

We graduated and he moved to Miami to celebrate his Cuban heritage while I stayed in the KC area.  We drifted apart, but with the Internet came a chance to reconnect.  Also, we both enjoyed the benefits of organized dentistry and industry meetings.  I'd frequently see Cesar at meetings across the US.  I enjoyed teaching, lecturing, and writing.  Cesar enjoyed the political side of the profession as he worked to move it forward into a new and exciting future.

My friend has had a tremendous impact on dentistry.  He now leads the largest dental professional organization in the United States.  None of his success was given to him.  He has always worked hard.  I am so proud of what Dr. Sabates has accomplished.  He is the first Cuban American to ever lead the ADA and I could not have a greater sense of pride in what he has accomplished.  A little boy came from Cuba and went on to leave a footprint on a profession.  I don't think either of us envisioned how far he would go... but I have a feeling he's not done just yet!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Primescan and Atlantis Suprastructures: A Validated Workflow for Efficient Treatment of Edentulous Patients

Market penetration of intraoral scanners - intraoral acquisition systems - digital impression systems continues at a brisk pace.  The numbers that I am seeing are somewhere from 25-33% of general dental offices.   The profession has well surpassed the early adopter phase and is now heading into mainstream acceptance and use.

One of the great things about the current progression to all digital treatment planning and appliance design is the ability to merge data from different platforms to create a digital solution.  As things continue along this path I expect to see greater and greater integration.  Check out the newly announced digital workflow from Dentsply Sirona!


Dentsply Sirona has validated a new workflow for clinically-efficient and digitally-supported implant treatment that includes all components, from impression to prosthetics. An essential part of this workflow is taking the digital impression with Primescan, which is characterized by ease of use, speed and very high accuracy1 over the entire arch. All treatment steps are coordinated with each other and come together in an efficient implant dentistry workflow.

With the upgrade of Connect SW 5.2, dental professionals now have convenient access to high-quality, patient-specific Atlantis suprastructures, designed and manufactured using highly accurate digital impression taken by Primescan. New firmware makes the intraoral scanner twice as fast, provides a higher-performing scanning experience and gives users access to new workflows and even better usability*.

In the validated workflow with Atlantis, dentists benefit from a very high flexibility, as the individual steps can be carried out completely digitally and in collaboration with the laboratory. Dentsply Sirona offers the possibility of ordering prosthetic components, including a complete suprastructure for the partial or full-arch case, from the global Atlantis design and manufacturing sites, the company's own digital laboratory. 

Dentsply Sirona is the first to enable intraoral scans with Atlantis suprastructures for fixed multiple-unit implant restorations. Thanks to the proven accuracy1 of Primescan, it is the first and only intraoral scanner validated for the fully digital workflow for Atlantis suprastructures, which was previously only validated for laboratory scanners.

With Primescan, a digital impression can be taken for single teeth, quadrants, whole dentition and now also edentulous jaws with multiple implants placed based on the Atlantis IO FLO-S scanbody. Users can then transfer scan data to their preferred lab via the Connect Case Center. Based on the open data format, labs must be able to detect the IO FLO-S scanbody in their lab software and can start working on the case coming from Primescan, creating more efficiency between practice and lab. Once complete, the technician can upload all required data to Atlantis. 

Simplified and improved workflow with Primescan*

The combination of Atlantis suprastructures and the full arch accuracy of Primescan assists in delivering an easier workflow for the dentist and the dental laboratory. Following this protocol, the clinician takes a digital impression using Primescan and Atlantis IO FLO-S Scanbodies. The partnering dental laboratory finalizes the order and sends it to Dentsply Sirona for design and manufacturing of the Atlantis suprastructure. The restoration is finalized by the lab technician and sent back to the clinician. 

Atlantis patient-specific solutions 

When function and esthetics are prioritized, a customized, patient-specific restoration probably is a natural choice. Atlantis patient-specific solutions are produced using state-of-the-art technologies and supported by computer based industrial and medical device expertise for a very high accuracy.

Moreover, additive manufacturing provides new possibilities for advanced geometries for fixed, screw-retained solutions in titanium or cobalt-chrome for all major implant systems. Atlantis includes a full range of dental implant suprastructures for fixed and removable splinted implant restorations.

“It is a big step forward to restore edentulous jaws using a digital workflow. This makes the process of planning, surgery and restoration between the clinician and the laboratory more coherent and offers very good esthetic results, while taking less clinical time,” explained Dr. Martin Wanendeya, dentist from London (UK). “Atlantis’ validation for Primescan gives us as practitioners the reassurance that it works reliably and consistently.”

This reliability was a major focus of the validation: Supporting implant restorations comprehensively with digital technology gives everyone involved peace of mind, ensuring that the planned treatment can be implemented predictably.

More information about Primescan can be found at www.dentsplysirona.com/primescan.

* Unless stated otherwise, all comparative statements in this press release refer to a comparison between Dentsply Sirona products.


Monday, October 18, 2021

Overjet's Dental Assist Receives FDA Clearance to Bring AI to the Dental Practice

 Over the last 5 or so years, I've had the good fortune to be able to evaluate more than a couple of dental AI systems for radiology.  It's been an interesting time doing that because reading x-rays requires nuance and, for lack of a better description, feel.  There is an "art" to looking at an image and being able to discern very subtle differences from one part to another and then basing your diagnosis on those nuances.  It is one of those things that is very difficult to explain.  There is no user's manual or IFU for understanding and interpreting radiographs.

That's why it's been so interesting to work with some of the problems.  AI can do amazing things, but it's one thing to discern a dog from a cat in a photograph to catching incipient lesions on a bitewing radiograph.  However, dental AI systems are evolving constantly and become better and better at what they do.

Now comes the announcement that Overjet Dental Assist™ has received FDA clearance.  The evolution of medical AI continues.  Here is the press release:

Overjet, the global leader in dental artificial intelligence, today announced that it received FDA 510(k) clearance for its Overjet Dental AssistTM product. This Software as a Medical Device product applies artificial intelligence in real-time to aid dentists and hygienists. The clearance by the FDA will enable Overjet to market and sell the AI product directly to dental practices. The software supports dental professionals in measuring mesial and distal bone levels in bitewing and periapical radiographs for the diagnosis and treatment planning of periodontal disease. The condition affects an estimated 46 percent of U.S. adults, including 8.9 percent who have severe periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and painful chewing.

"Overjet's Dental Assist clearance by the FDA is a landmark moment for dental AI," said Dr. Wardah Inam, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Overjet. "All clinicians can now have at their fingertips highly accurate software to detect and measure serious dental disease and clear AI visualizations to communicate with patients. This is big for dentistry and moving toward evidence-based, patient-centric care." 

In clinical performance testing, Overjet Dental AssistTM demonstrated automated measurement capabilities comparable to a team of highly skilled dentists. Overjet had three experienced dentists independently measure bone levels on dental radiographs using a measuring tool. These measurements were then further adjudicated by an oral radiologist to establish an official consensus ground truth. Overjet's AI-powered Dental Assist measurements were then compared against this dentist consensus and had an average difference of only 0.3mm.

"We're seeing dental AI software perform at the level of a team of trained dentists with accuracy closer than the width of a needle," said Dr. Chris Balaban, DMD, Clinical Director for Overjet. "These tools unlock the ability to track the progression of disease over time for each tooth and make the case for evidence-based treatment, supported by unbiased software and clear visuals for patients."

Three-year-old Overjet was founded by a team of PhDs and dentists from MIT and Harvard. They built the company around the mission of improving oral healthcare for all. To date, the company has raised over $10.5 million in venture funding and built artificial intelligence models to detect a variety of dental conditions such as cavities, gum disease, tartar and impacted teeth. Overjet's software is already in daily use by multiple large dental insurance companies to automate and improve the accuracy of dental claims review. The company has numerous partnerships with research institutions, dental support organizations and large dental practices.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Some Things are More Important

 Things like SmileCon.

In case you haven't noticed, I've just taken a few days off to attend the ADA Smilecon in Las Vegas.


I'll be back with more reportings and ramblings starting next Monday.  Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

CareQuest Institute Commends WHO For Adding Three Minimally Invasive Oral Health Care Medicines to Essential Medicines Lists

Here is some good news for individuals with kids in need of dental treatment.  I was happy to learn that WHO has authorized these materials as "essential".  For those of us who are lucky enough to live in areas where we can receive state of the art care, these materials are easily available and make a tremendous difference.  However, for those who live in areas where care is not so easily found, have access to these materials can make a real difference.  Here is the info courtesy of CareQuest:


The World Health Organization (WHO) published the new edition of its Model Lists of Essential Medicines (EML) and Essential Medicines for Children on Oct. 1, 2021, in which it recommended the establishment of a new section for children and adult dental preparation. The WHO's Expert Committee added three new oral health medicines — fluoride toothpaste, silver diamine fluoride, and glass ionomer cement — to the lists aimed at addressing global health priorities. These medicines provide the greatest benefits, according to WHO, and should be available and affordable for all. 

 These medicines are central to minimally invasive care, a care philosophy of decreasing and even eliminating the need for a dental drill and local anesthetic. They empower more oral health providers to treat tooth decay because they don’t require advanced skills such as drilling or numbing. This approach to care for tooth decay improves access, outcomes, and experience for many patients. 

 Jeremy Horst Keeper, DDS, PhD, director of clinical innovation at CareQuest Innovation Partners, a subsidiary of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, led the proposal for glass ionomer cement to be a WHO Essential Medicine. He applauded the committee for their acknowledgement of oral health care's impact on the global public health problem and addition of these medicines:

 "This is a huge milestone in ensuring that billions of people will gain access to simple, non-invasive treatments for the most common disease in the world. The WHO has recognized that these three medicines, and not fillings, are the first-line treatment for tooth decay.”

 Keeper also explained why this shift in treatment is so important for children. 

 “Traditional dental procedures can be difficult for children, so providers often use sedation and anesthesia, which is expensive and can have adverse health effects on the overall body. Adding silver diamine fluoride and glass ionomer cement to the WHO EML for both children and adults eases the management of disease for all, but especially kids. We thank the WHO for taking this step toward a more person-centric and accessible approach to oral health care and helping millions of children in the process. Oral health care is health care. We are encouraged by this news and must continue to improve access to dental medicines and support additional innovations that allow us to improve health outcomes for all.”

 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Ellume issues voluntary recall of specific lots of Ellume COVID-19 Home Tests

As a bit of a public service, I thought I'd post this info today.  I receive regular updates from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and occasionally, things come via that route that I feel deserve a blog post.  Today's is about a home test for Covid-19.  The company has issued a voluntary recall and there is the possibility consumers may have affected products in their medicine cabinets.

If you happen to have one of these kits, follow this link to find out whether your product is part of the affected lots.  It will also provide instructions on how to proceed. 

Recall Notice

Audience: Clinical Laboratory Professionals

Level: Laboratory Alert


On October 1, 2021, the digital diagnostics company Ellume announced a voluntary recall on specific lots of the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test, the company’s rapid, self-administered COVID-19 antigen test, because there is an increased chance that tests from the affected lot numbers may give a false positive result.


Ellume advises consumers to visit their website to check whether their product is part of the affected lots and, if affected, to receive further instructions.


The voluntary recall is being taken after specific product lots reported false positive test result rates higher than was observed in clinical testing. Ellume has investigated the issue, identified the root cause, implemented additional controls, and is working on resolving the issue that led to this recall. Information relating to the action to be taken by distributors and retailers for the affected lots is also provided on the company’s website.


Monday, October 4, 2021

National Oral Health Leader Launches Major Ad Campaign to Support Medicare Dental Benefit


 

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health’s campaign will run in 16 key Senate districts 

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, a national organization focused on improving oral health of all, today launched a multi-platform digital advertising campaign advocating for the inclusion of dental coverage under Medicare Part B. 
 
The United States Senate included a Medicare dental benefit as part of its budget blueprint released in August and is expected to release a formal legislative package this fall. The launch of the digital campaign is part of CareQuest Institute’s efforts to secure passage of this benefit that would improve the health of millions of Americans.  
 
“Of the 60 million Medicare beneficiaries, 26 million do not have dental coverage,” said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. “This means a population that is disproportionately people of color, rural Americans, and people with disabilities is left without basic care that affects their physical and mental well-being. If we care about ending the deep health disparities in this country, we must include dental coverage under Medicare Part B.” 
 
The campaign will encourage individuals to sign a petition asking Congress to pass the dental benefit and will target key Senate seats, including Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington.  
 
Oral health care is essential care, especially for older adults. According to the CDC, one in five adults aged 65 years or older have untreated tooth decay or have lost all their teeth and more than two in three older adults have gum disease. Poor oral health has a direct impact on overall health and is associated with increased risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, as well as mental health. 
  
In August, CareQuest Institute joined with a coalition of leading health professionals to send a letter urging Congress to include dental coverage under Medicare. If passed by Congress, the legislation would help improve rates of dental visits among historically marginalized populations and lower-income beneficiaries, reduce long-term health care costs, and more.  
 
Adding dental coverage to Medicare is also popular with voters: A recent CareQuest Institute poll revealed that eight in 10 voters favored the inclusion of dental benefits in Medicare.