Monday, December 27, 2021

Happy Holidays! Enjoy Time with Family & Friends - I'll Be Back Next Week

 As I usually do at this time of year... I am taking this week off to spend time with loved ones and to recharge the creative batteries.  

IF there is something Earth shattering that occurs in the next few days, I'll be here to report and give my take on it, but barring anything that is hugely tech or news worthy, I'll be taking a bit of 'Blog Vacation'.


Thanks to all of you that read and support me.  You guys and gals mean more to me than I can tell you.  If you didn't take the time to read and reach out to me, I would be toiling away for naught.  Knowing that you good folks read my ramblings is hugely important to me.

See you in 2022!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - NORAD Tracks Santa!!!

 


Every year on December 24th... the moment it begins at the International Date Line, NORAD begins tracking Santa as he delivers gifts around the globe!  The Santa Tracker shows kiddos exactly *where* Santa is on every part of his trip as well as providing videos of him as he passes famous landmarks.

Until Christmas Eve kids can also explore the website, listen to music, and play games!

The origin story of the entire process will fascinate adults.  Find out about the mission by following this link.


And the main page with all of the goodies as well as the Santa Tracker can be found here!

May all your holidays be merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Carestream Dental Announces Sale of Scanning Technology Business

 



This one is hot off the press.  Carestream is selling their scanning business to Envista Holding which is the parent company of Kavo-Kerr.  More info to follow as it is available...


Affiliates of Carestream Dental LLC (“Carestream Dental”) today announced that they have entered into an agreement to sell Carestream Dental’s Scanning Technology business to Envista Holding Corporation (“Envista”), a leading global dental products company for $600 million. The Scanning Technology business is composed of Carestream Dental’s intraoral scanner equipment (CS 3600, CS 3700, and CS 3800) and related software.

 Carestream Dental will continue to operate its market-leading imaging technology, clinical software and practice management software businesses which provide innovative solutions for dental practices, groups, DSOs and industry partners. The sale of the Scanning Technology business will not only deliver significant proceeds representing the value of the company’s innovation processes, but also allow Carestream Dental to focus its investments and efforts in the highly attractive and growing dental cloud and technology solutions market. Its recent investments in Sensei Cloud practice management and Swissmeda’s suite of clinical software solutions complement a legacy of market-leading device innovation with new growing SaaS applications focused on helping practices and groups build new revenue, profits and patient flows.

 “This is an exciting time for Carestream Dental and our customers,” Lisa Ashby, CEO of Carestream Dental, said. “We’ve had a multi-year investment plan in cloud solutions and technology, and this transaction allows us to better focus and accelerate our innovation in AI tools, clinical cloud applications and cloud practice management for GPs, DSOs and specialty practices. We will continue to work together with our customers and partners to create innovation which delivers both clinical and operational value, and think Envista represents a great home for our Scanning Technology business under which our employees and customers will thrive.”

 Subject to legal, regulatory and employee consultation requirements, it is anticipated that the transaction will close in late Q1/early Q2 of 2022. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Jefferies LLC is serving as financial advisor and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is serving as legal counsel to Carestream Dental in the transaction.

 


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

One of My Top Test Drives of 2021 - Monet Handheld Curing Laser

As I’ve said in the past, curing is the stepchild of adhesive dentistry.  It’s always there, but no one ever pays any attention to it.  We’ve seen some pretty dramatic improvements in our curing devices over the past decade, but AMD has leap frogged the industry with the first laser that is the same size as the standard LED curing light.

A laser pushes all of its photons in one direction in a column of light.  Due to that, every photon created goes to the process of curing the composite.  The physics of LED lights means that as soon as the light leaves the LED, it begins to sort of “spray” in all directions.  That means wasted photons which do NOT help cure the composite.  The Monet focuses all of those photons in a single column of light.

Because of the intensity of the beam, AMD’s internal testing shows a depth of cure of at least 4mm.  In my own independent testing, I have seen similar numbers.

In situations where a Class II restoration is placed, most of us cure from multiple directions after we remove the “hardware” of our matrix system.  The idea is that coming at restorations from the  lingual, buccal, and occlusal gives us the best chance of ensuring an adequate cure.  Adding a curing laser to that equation means better depth of cure across the entire restoration.

The Monet also comes with some handy “aperture attachments” that can easily snap on over the curing lens.  These little clip-on attachments reduce the diameter of the beam to create different aperture tacking tips or smaller beams for more precise curing.

In addition to being a benefit for direct restorations, the Monet has benefits for indirect restorations as well.  The intensity of the beam assures the operator of a strong bond and effective photopolymerization even through thick restorations such as onlays.  This means that the user can have confidence that the restoration has a strong bond and is not relying on autopolymerizing resins to complete their chemical curing process. Lasers are truly the “next step” in our curing armamentarium.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Bayer Consumer Health Division Announces Clinical Research Study Findings Evaluating Naproxen Sodium vs. an Opioid Combination in Acute Postsurgical Dental Pain

Study Shows a Single Dose of Over-The-Counter Naproxen Sodium (440 mg) is as Effective, Lasts Longer, and was Better Tolerated Than a Single Dose of a Commonly Prescribed Opioid

Bayer Consumer Health Division announced today its clinical research study, "Analgesic efficacy of naproxen sodium versus hydrocodone/acetaminophen in acute postsurgical dental pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" was published online in the Postgraduate Medicine journal.

Aleve® is an over the counter (OTC) pain reliever indicated for temporary relief of minor aches and pains including minor arthritis pain, headache, muscular aches and toothache. The single dose study found that in treating moderate-to-severe postsurgical dental pain, a single dose of non-prescription naproxen sodium 440 mg (NapS) was at least as effective at hours 0-4 and better tolerated than a single dose of an opioid combination of hydrocodone plus acetaminophen 10/650 mg (HYD+APAP). This class of medication is known to lead to the potential for misuse and addiction.1 

Overall, in a single dose study, NapS was as effective as HYD+APAP during hours 0-4, and longer lasting. NapS was found to meet the endpoints of reducing pain intensity over 12 hours (primary endpoint; p=0.01), total pain relief over 6 and 12 hours (p<0.05), time to rescue medication (p<0.001), and duration of pain at least half gone over 12 hours (p<0.001). The HYD+APAP treatment was not statistically superior to NapS for any endpoint. Additionally, more treatment-related adverse events were reported with HYD+APAP (n=63) than NapS (n=2) and placebo (n=20), including nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Results showed NapS to be statistically superior to HYD+APAP for the primary and key secondary endpoints and to have a lower incidence of adverse events (14.4% vs. 39.1%).

"We set out to understand how NapS compares with a common opioid combination in dental pain. We were pleased that the results showed that NapS performed as well as it did in the study," said Charlene Ng, Interim Head of North America Medical Affairs, Bayer Consumer Health. "Knowing NSAIDs are commonly recommended as a first line of defense following dental procedures, we wanted to see how one dose of NapS directly compares to one dose of a commonly prescribed opioid combination. The study yielded positive findings that can serve as valuable information for dental professionals when determining the appropriate treatment for their patients."

One of the most common reasons patients seek medical attention is for pain relief.2 Fast and effective management of acute pain is critical to minimize negative side-effects and current treatment guidelines worldwide recommend that first-line therapy in all mild-to-moderate pain conditions in adults should be oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or acetaminophen (APAP). 3-5 Opioids, however, alone or in combination with other analgesics, continue to be prescribed for pain relief. Overprescribing opioids has led to unprecedented levels of relief which have the potential for addiction. 

The results of this single dose study demonstrate that NapS provides the same levels of pain relief from hours 0-4 as a commonly prescribed opioid combination for acute postoperative pain and can be considered by clinicians when recommending appropriate analgesics for minor pain.

"This study comes at a key time, as opioid addiction and overdose deaths have been declared a public health emergency in the United States2," said Dr. M. Ted Wong, DDS, MHA, oral healthcare and dental medical integration consultant. "In reviewing the results, the study shows that NapS may be an effective non-addictive treatment option for those undergoing dental procedures. Data like this is key in the ongoing effort to mitigate the use of opioid combinations as a first line of defense for relieving minor pain after dental procedures. It is my hope that other dentists find the results as compelling as I do."

About the Study 
The study titled, "Analgesic efficacy of naproxen sodium versus hydrocodone/acetaminophen in acute postsurgical dental pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial," was a single center, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study in moderate or severe postoperative pain after the surgical removal of impacted third molars. Patients (n=212) received either a single dose of NapS (Aleve®, Bayer Bitterfeld, Germany; 220 mg x two tablets), HYD+APAP (Norco®, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, NY, USA; 5+325 mg x two tablets), or a placebo within 4.5 hours post-surgery and were assessed over the course of 12 hours. The primary endpoint was the summed pain intensity difference from zero to 12 hours (SPID0-12) with secondary endpoints identified as pain intensity, pain relief, time to rescue medication (additional pain relief medication taken, if needed), and duration of pain at least half gone. Additional endpoints assessed include onset of pain relief, global assessment of treatment, and adverse events.

There were no serious adverse events (AEs) or treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) that led to study discontinuation. A total of 85 TEAEs were reported (NapS, n=2; HYD+APAP, n=63; PBO, n=20). Most AEs were classified as mild, but moderate in 21.8% HYD+APAP patients and 13.6% of PBO patients. Results demonstrated that NapS was better tolerated than HYD+APAP with only one AE that was considered treatment related (somnolence) compared to 18 with HYD+APAP (mostly nausea, vomiting and dizziness) and compared to 1 with PBO (vomiting).

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to drive sustainable development and generate a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2020, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 41.4 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 4.9 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

ADA Sends Letter to Senate Encouraging Passing Bill "Prevent HPV Cancers Act"


 

On December 10, 2021 ADA President Cesar Sabates, DDS wrote to the majority and minority leaders of the senate to encourage passage of H.R.1550.

The Human Papilloma Virus is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control to cause oral cancers in 19,000 U.S. citizens yearly.  We have a vaccine for this virus & we need to get the population vaccinated.  Oral cancers have a low 5 year survival rate, mainly because many people do not see a dentist regularly and discover the signs when the disease is at a more advanced stage.

Here is the letter sent by Dr. Sabates (who I am proud to call my friend):

Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell: 

On behalf of the 162,000 members of the American Dental Association (ADA), we are writing to ask you to bring H.R. 1550, the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act, to the floor for a vote. The ADA strongly supports this legislation that passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on November 30. 

The ADA believes in the importance of increasing awareness of HPV and of educating the public on the need for HPV immunization. The administration of the HPV vaccine is a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of HPV-related cancers, including certain head and neck cancers. HPV is now associated with more than 19,000 cases of head and neck cancer each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

H.R. 1550 would provide the national public awareness needed to help Americans safeguard their oral health against cancers of the mouth, throat, and tonsils. The ADA is proud to support H.R. 1550 and would welcome the opportunity to work with the Secretary of Health and Health Human Services (HHS) on the public service awareness campaign that would be authorized under the bill. 

We urge you to bring the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act up for a vote. Thank you for your consideration, and please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Natalie Hales with any questions at halesn@ada.org.

Sincerely,


Cesar R. Sabates, DDS

Ultradent Grows its South Jordan Campus




 Ultradent Products, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-tech dental materials and equipment, is beginning construction of a new facility on its South Jordan, UT, campus. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held December 16, 1:30 p.m. with key company representatives and local leaders in attendance. 

The planned 170,000 square feet, state-of-the-art building will allow Ultradent to expand its growing manufacturing division—housing injection molding, equipment manufacturing, repair facilities, and more. The building will support 24/7 operations to facilitate Ultradent’s increasing domestic and international presence. The building—designed by PGA&W Architecture—is expected to be completed in early 2023.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Statement from CISA Director Easterly on "LOG4J" Vulnerability

 The world of cyber security is full of twists and turns.  It's also a never ending battle as experts for legitimate entities try to keep criminals out of their networks.  Recently we've seen an uptick in 'supply chain attacks' where the hackers infiltrate systems through a trusted IT partner.

These attacks allow a hacker to exploit a single company and have that particular exploit then delivered to many other companies.  It's a nefarious way of spreading mayhem and creating possibilities for exponential incidents of Ransomware or other Malware.

We are currently seeing a *major threat* through an exploit that is being referred to as a "critical vulnerability".  I've read one story online that quotes CISA Director Jen Easterly as saying this could well be the worst vulnerability she has seen in her career.  Here is the statement that was released by CISA.  You may want to check with your IT folks to see if this affects you...

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly released the following statement today on the “log4j” vulnerability: 


 “CISA is working closely with our public and private sector partners to proactively address a critical vulnerability affecting products containing the log4j software library. This vulnerability, which is being widely exploited by a growing set of threat actors, presents an urgent challenge to network defenders given its broad use. End users will be reliant on their vendors, and the vendor community must immediately identify, mitigate, and patch the wide array of products using this software.  Vendors should also be communicating with their customers to ensure end users know that their product contains this vulnerability and should prioritize software updates. 

 “We are taking urgent action to drive mitigation of this vulnerability and detect any associated threat activity. We have added this vulnerability to our catalog of known exploited vulnerabilities, which compels federal civilian agencies -- and signals to non-federal partners -- to urgently patch or remediate this vulnerability. We are proactively reaching out to entities whose networks may be vulnerable and are leveraging our scanning and intrusion detection tools to help government and industry partners identify exposure to or exploitation of the vulnerability.  

 “The Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative is designed to manage this kind of risk. We have established a JCDC senior leadership group to coordinate collective action and ensure shared visibility into both the prevalence of this vulnerability and threat activity. By bringing together key government and private sector partners via the JCDC, including our partners at the FBI and NSA, we will ensure that our country’s strongest capabilities are brought to bear in an integrated manner against this risk. To ensure the broadest possible dissemination of key information, we are also convening a national call with critical infrastructure stakeholders on Monday afternoon where CISA’s experts provide further insight and address questions.  

 “We continue to urge all organizations to review the latest CISA current activity alert and upgrade to log4j version 2.15.0, or apply their appropriate vendor recommended mitigations immediately.

 “To be clear, this vulnerability poses a severe risk. We will only minimize potential impacts through collaborative efforts between government and the private sector. We urge all organizations to join us in this essential effort and take action.” 

 CISA recommends asset owners take three additional, immediate steps regarding this vulnerability: 

   1. Enumerate any external facing devices that have log4j installed. 

   2. Make sure that your security operations center is actioning every single alert on the devices that fall into the category above. 

   3. Install a web application firewall (WAF) with rules that automatically update so that your SOC is able to concentrate on fewer alerts. 

 This effort also underscores the urgency of building software securely from the start and more widespread use of Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), both of which were directed by President Biden in his Executive Order issued in May 2021.  A SBOM would provide end users will the transparency they require to know if their products rely on vulnerable software libraries. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Evaluating AirFree Air Purifiers in Our Clinic


 

Obviously, air quality has come to the forefront of infection control recently.  If you think about it logically, masks are all about air quality.  Some are for outgoing and some are for incoming.

A normal surgical mask that does not fit snugly around the face does little to actually protect the wearer (it provides some protection but not a lot), but protects others from respiratory droplets.   While N-95 respirators help protect the wearer (the snug fit and electrically charged filtration remove tiny pieces in the air) while also protecting others.

However, what if there were ways to help cleanse the air in addition to wearing masks?  In the dental environment, that's what we're trying to do by using air purification systems in addition to masks.

We have recently received 2 AirFree Air Purifiers which we are putting to use in our clinic.  The dental office here is divided into what we refer to as "pods".  We have one pod for reception, one pod for the clinic, and one pod for staff.  Each pod is separated from the others by doors and each pod also has its own HVAC system.

Since our clinic is the pod in the office where the aerosols are being created, we have placed an Airfare P  Air Purifier at each end of the clinic pod.  The devices are quiet, since no fans are needed, but they also have a great aesthetic that with the high tech appearance of our office.  The devices work quietly to get rid of up to 99.99% of bacteria, fungi, viruses, pollen, and other air pollutants.

Personally, I love the appearance, but I also love the fact that they are always working to remove anything in the air that can cause problems.

I'll be reporting back in a few weeks to let you know how things are going with them, but at this point we're having good results.

Monday, December 13, 2021

3Shape and Dentsply Sirona Announce Next Step in Dental Connectivity

 Dentsply Sirona and 3Shape have taken the next step according to their agreement and now provide a seamless and secure integration of Dentsply Sirona’s Connect Case Center with 3Shape’s Dental System software. Dentists using Primescan or Omnicam intraoral scanners for digital impression-taking can now give dental labs secure access to the data through the Connect Case Center Portal. That makes it easy and efficient for dental technicians using 3Shape’s software to work more closely with their dental practice partners.

The new interfaces are available to dental laboratories that use 3Shape’s Dental System and have upgraded to Version 2021.2.

“I always want to give a patient the treatment I feel is best for them. When companies like Dentsply Sirona and 3Shape choose to work together, it gives all dentists and lab owners more opportunities, and that means better outcomes for our patients,” said Dr. Alan Jurim, owner of integratedDENTAL (Woodbury, NY).

With integrated hardware and software, even highly complex treatments can be efficiently planned and executed. Simplifying digital workflows, results in a closer working relationship between labs and their dentist partners.

“Digital impressions facilitate communication. After scanning I can discuss the digital model directly with my patient. And because I now can communicate with the lab technician seamlessly, I can share the planned outcome with my patient much quicker – and that is a benefit to the patient that matters,” said Dr. Sabrina Hoffmann, a dentist in Buerstadt, Germany. “What we are experiencing today is truly the dentistry of the future.”

Last June, both companies announced an agreement between the two companies designed to improve digital dentistry and oral health. The goal is to support the dental community through the evolution of efficient, simplified, and digitally oriented workflows for dentists and dental technicians. As a first step, users of 3Shape’s TRIOS intraoral scanner gained validated and seamless access to Dentsply Sirona’s SureSmile Clear Aligners platform, which makes it much easier for 3Shape’s customers to offer patients a leading solution for treating malocclusions.

Both companies are now focusing on expanding customer access to an even wider range of technology choices.

More information about Primescan is available on the Dentsply Sirona Website: www.dentsplysirona.com/primescan

More information about 3Shape’s Lab software is available on the 3Shape website: www.3shape.com/en/promo/dentsply-sirona-connect

Due to the different approval and registration times, not all technologies and products are immediately available in all countries.


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Clear Aligners Market Size Worth $17.0 billion By 2028: Grand View Research, Inc.

 The world of orthodontics has changed radically in the 2 decades since the year 2000.  The technology of computerized treatment planning and 3D printing brought for the concept of the clear aligner.  This was aided by advancements in chemistry that allowed for development of resins that could actually move teeth.

Jumping forward 20 years and we now have multiple companies competing in the clear aligner space.  The biggest boon to the clear aligner process has been the advancements and market penetration of 3D intraoral acquisition units.  In the old days traditional analog impressions were taken and sent to a company who then poured them up into plaster models.  Those models were then scanned to create a digital 3D representation of the mouth which was used to treatment plan and fabricate the aligners.

The proliferation of incredibly accurate 3D intraoral scanners has great simplified and accelerated the treatment.  Now a scan can be uploaded to the aligner company and treatment plan fabricated in hours or less.  This has allowed for "outcome simulators" to show patients anticipated outcomes almost immediately after the scan is completed.

Bringing all of this technology to bear on the subject or orthodontics has triggered explosive growth in the field.  While there are still a few cases that require brackets and wires, most cases can now be treated with a minimally invasive clear aligner solution.

Now comes a new study from Grand View Research, Inc that sees this section of the market growing to $17 billion by the year 2028.  The complete research paper can be downloaded from this link.

Here is the info the company made available from a recent press release:

The global clear aligners market is expected to reach USD 17.0 Billion by 2028, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. It is expected to expand at a CAGR of 27.3% from 2021 to 2028. Clear aligners are invisible and discreet braces developed from thermoformed materials like copolyester or polycarbonate plastic and CAD 3D printing technology, acting as an alternative to traditional braces. According to the FDA, the clear aligner system helps in positioning the teeth by the means of continuous gentle force and is developed to treat mild to moderate malocclusion.

Key Insights & Findings:

The teenage segment emerged as the largest consumer segment in 2019, as teenagers are increasingly opting for the orthodontic device because of its inconspicuous characteristics and comfort

The standalone practices segment reciprocated the largest share in 2019 as standalone practitioners are readily adopting the orthodontic device and are equipped with advanced digital technologies

North America dominated the market in 2019 owing to increasing demand for new technologies, a large pool of key players, rising prevalence of dental disorders, and advanced healthcare infrastructure in the region

In Asia Pacific, the market is expected to reciprocate the highest CAGR over the forecast period.

Read 100 page research report, "Clear Aligners Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Age (Adult, Teens), By End-use (Hospitals, Standalone Practices, Group Practices), By Region (North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, MEA), And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028", by Grand View Research

According to the WHO, malocclusion is the third most prevalent dental disease after dental caries and periodontal disease globally. Malocclusion of the teeth causes the problem of misalignment which can later lead to severe oral health complications like hard and soft tissue trauma. This condition is hereditary and can be passed from one generation to another.

Technological advancements and the growing demand for customized clear aligners are significant factors responsible for market growth. Companies like Align Technology and DynaFlex are constantly bringing in newer computer-aided technology in the market. For instance, the launch of iTero, which is a digital impression system, by Align Technology is assisting in developing accurate, effective, and customized clear aligners. The device is designed in accordance with the wearer's comfort to treat mild to moderate misalignment conditions. According to an article published in Scielo.com in November 2018, the global prevalence of Class I malocclusions is 74.7%, and of Class II malocclusions is 19.6%. The rising prevalence of these medical conditions is assisting in escalating the demand for orthodontic devices.

The demand for customized clear aligners has witnessed a burgeoning growth, especially among teenagers. For instance, the FDA-approved Invisalign clear aligners developed by Align Technology have been used in the treatment of 5.0 million people as of 2018, and worldwide Invisalign shipments to teenagers were about 87.1 thousand cases. To date, over 1.0 million teenagers have adopted this orthodontic treatment. This is because many teenagers prefer avoiding discomfort caused by metal braces and also want their braces to look aesthetically appealing. The above-mentioned factors are cumulatively assisting in robust market growth.

Grand View Research has segmented the global clear aligners market on the basis of age, end-use, and region:

Clear Aligners Age Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2028)

Adult

Teenage

Clear Aligners End-use Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2028)

Hospitals

Stand Alone Practices

Group Practices

Others

Clear Aligners Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2028)

North America

U.S.

Canada

Europe

U.K.

Germany

France

Italy

Spain

Asia Pacific

India

Japan

China

Australia

South Korea

Latin America

Brazil

Mexico

Argentina

Middle East & Africa

South Africa

Saudi Arabia

UAE

List of Key Players of Clear Aligners Market

Align Technology, Inc.

Danaher Corporation

Institut Straumann AG

Dentsply Sirona

3M

Argen Corporation

Henry Schein

TP Orthodontics, Inc.


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Orascoptic Endeavour XL Impresses and Continues to Impress


The picture above is my newest "nose light" in my armamentarium of headlights.  This is my new Endeavour XL from  Orascoptic with TruColor.  There is an interesting story behind my latest purchase.

Throughout my career I've used a variety of scope mounted lighting, but my "bread and butter" light was the Orascoptic Zeon Discovery.  The picture is below.

The thing I really liked about the Discovery, was its brightness.  It was a bit heavy on the bridge of my nose, but I was willing to trade that for the intensity of the light.  However, recently the battery had started to degrade and I knew I was going to have to make a change.  Time had passed the Discovery by.

So I invested in the Endeavour XL and the first question that crossed my mind was "why did I wait?"  The Endeavour XL is incredibly bright, so I'm not losing any light intensity.  It's also much smaller and lighter so my scopes aren't as heavy.  One other feature that I need to mention is that the cord is *much* thinner, which means less pull and also less chance of wire breakage from bending.Add to those benefits the fact that the new light also has Orascoptic's Tru Color built in and this thing is an absolute winner.

The advantage of the Tru Color lighting is that the color emitted by the light is very close to natural sunlight.  That makes shade matching a much simpler task.  It is about 5700° Kelvin which many experts consider "true north lighting".

Now I know a lot of you are probably asking why I didn't just go with a wireless system for my lighting and my answer for that is that I am used to working under *very* bright light.  The wireless systems are completely acceptable for every day use.  It's just that I have gotten SO used to working in a bright field that I wanted that intensity as an option.  The Endeavour XL has low, medium, and high settings and I normally use the low option, however I love choices and having the extra brightness can come in handy for some situations so I chose to keep with a system that had that option.

If you are like me and want brightness when you need it, for sure check out the lineup from Orascoptic.  The Endeavour XL is *highly* recommended! 

 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Nobio's Infinix Composite Continues to Impress in Clinical Trial

 


As many of you know, I've been fortunate enough to be able to work with the new composite from Nobio called Infinix.  The cool thing about Nobio is they are not a restorative company, they are a "chemical company".  By that I mean they are not just looking to change dental restoratives, but also to change the way a lot of things are made by adding their bacterial killing molecules to those products.

Infinix is a composite material created to kill bacteria that comes into contact with it.  If it follows through in the real world as it has in the lab, this may be a total game changer for the profession and the patients we serve.

Here in the U.S. I think I might have been the first dentist to actually place an Infinix restoration.  While I am truly honored to be able to say that, I also think that means it's my job to let the rest of the profession know what I've experienced.  

I'll continue to provide updates, but I've got to say that things are "so far, so good".  I'm about 20 restorations into my trial and I have nothing but good things to say at this time.


The above photo shows a MO and DO restoration done with the material.  I currently only have one shade to work with and that is A-2.  I tell you that because in the clinical photo it is easy to spot the material.  The good news is that it is close enough that they are not noticeable except to those in the profession.  The patients who have received these restorations have been very happy with them.  The company is planning on more shades in the future, but at this point, they wanted to get material to me to use and A-2 was the first shade available.

The material handles well.  It is not sticky and is easy to place.  I prefer to use warm composite and I'm happy to say that the warm material handles as expected.  I prefer to prep with a 2-3mm bevel at the cavosurface margin and it finishes very well.  I tend to use micro-fine finishing diamonds first and then to polish with Ultradent Jiffy Polishers finishing with the Jiffy Brush.

The material polishes well and has a nice shine after polish.

The real benefit of course should be the long term viability of the materials.  I am placing these restorations across a wide spectrum of patients and will follow them carefully as they come in for recare.  It's a nice material to use, but my real hope is that it increases the life span of our restorations.

I'll be posting more as my experience progresses...

Monday, December 6, 2021

SprintRay Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance for NightGuard Flex

 


As I stated here recently, I love SprintRay products.  I have been using SprintRay printers in my office for several years now and I am *very* impressed with their performance, quality, and durability.  The printers are, to put it simply, workhorses.  They churn out models, implant surgical guides, occlusal guards, and temporary crowns.

You'll notice the term "occlusal guards" in the above paragraph.  I should specify that the term applies to rigid resin based occlusal guards.  For the non-dentist folks who read the blog I should explain that an occlusal guard is a dental device that a patient wears (normally while sleeping) to protect the teeth from damage caused by clenching and grinding.  I should also explain that  there are 2 types of materials that are used to make these devices.

The first material is hard acrylic.  The idea behind this material is that it is very resilient and can resist strong biting forces that are generated by the patient musculature.  Depending on the material used, hard guides can last for years.  The drawback is that they need to be very well balanced with the biting (occlusal) forces distributed equally.  Basically it needs to be designed and adjusted so that all the teeth touch it equally at the same time.  The main drawback is that patients who are strong grinders can break this material.

The second material, which is what I personally prefer to use, is a softer more rubbery material.  It can act as a "shock absorber" to the teeth, is almost impossible to break, and does not require as much adjustment.

Due to my preference to clinically use softer materials, I was excited to learn that SprintRay recently received FDA 510(k) clearance for a new material Nightguard Flex.  This new resin allows the doctor or the dental lab to 3D print appliances made with a flexible material!  

Here is the info from the SprintRay press release:

SprintRay Inc., an industry leader in digital dentistry and 3D printing solutions, today announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the Company clearance to market its NightGuard Flex 3D printing resin as a Class II medical device in the United States. The SprintRay NightGuard Flex is indicated for the fabrication of orthodontic and dental appliances such as mouthguards, nightguards, and splints, and joins SprintRay's industry-leading line up of end-to-end dental 3D printing solutions.

SprintRay NightGuard Flex resin was developed, in part, to meet the growing demand for night guards due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an American Dental Association survey, more than 70 percent of dentists are seeing an increase of patients experiencing teeth grinding and clenching, conditions often associated with stress. SprintRay's NightGuard Flex 3D printing material is a flexible resin for 3D printing night guards and splints. NightGuard Flex is designed to deliver the best possible patient experience with high impact strength and wear resistance, comfortable and flavorless material and same-day patient delivery. Additionally, NightGuard Flex drives greater efficiency for dental practitioners by eliminating the need for third party resins and creating uniform, end-to-end dental 3D printing workflows.

"Nightguards are costly and can take several weeks to get back with traditional production methods using outside sources," said Amir Mansouri, Ph.D., CEO of SprintRay. "Today, Sprintray's NightGuard Flex resin has totally changed the patient and doctor experience in the treatment of bruxism and teeth grinding. Our patient-centered design is durable, flexible, more comfortable, and enables faster delivery and greater access for patients to receive their nightguards same-day, through chairside SprintRay 3D printing and at more affordable prices."

This announcement follows the launch of SprintRay's Protect A Smile campaign, a program designed to support occlusal health through 3D printing, as well as SprintRay's North American distribution partnership agreement with Nobel Biocare, which furthers the Company's mission to increase patient access to innovative dental technology solutions.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

The EndoUltra Cordless Ultrasonic Agitator

 


I perform a lot of endodontics in my office.  That simple fact means that I am always looking for ways to improve patient outcomes as well as perform more efficiently.  I think this is especially true when it comes to endodontics.  No one ever wants a root canal "to take longer".

Endodontics requires a high degree of precision and because of that the procedure can be time consuming.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that quality always requires a long procedure.

There is also the simple fact of irrigation and chemical cleansing of the canal system.  If you have ever seen a scanning electron microscopic view of a canal system (and you probably have) you'll understand that simple mechanical instrumentation cannot do all the necessary work of removing diseased tissue and bacteria.

Because of that simple fact, irrigation has become tremendously important while performing endodontic treatment.  The other part of irrigation is being sure that the irritants reach into all the small areas of the canal system.  That's why it's not only important to use copious irrigation, it's also important to provide some type of agitation to those irritants.  This ensures that they are replenished in those tiny areas as well as to provide some "shock waves" that also can loosen debris as well as having some potentially lysing effects on bacterial cell walls.

I've used several different devices to accomplish this task, but my current favorite is the EndoUltra from Vista-Apex.  The device is small, ergonomic, wonderfully effective, and affordable.  If you do endo in your practice, effective irrigation and agitation of those chemicals is critical to clinical success.

I have been using the EndoUltra device for about 2 years now and have nothing but good things to say about it.  Take a look at the video I shot this summer to hear all about it.  I was lucky enough to spend some time on a site visit to the Vista-Apex facility this past summer and saw some impressive things.  While there, they asked if I could sit down and do a testimonial video on the EndoUltra and I was happy to do so.  I use it and believe in it, so talking about it was easy.  Give the video a view and I think you'll be as impressed with this device as I am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

An Attempt to Reinsert Dental into Medicare

 I don't normally like to even mention politics on the blog.  Number one, there are enough blogs doing that already.  Number two, I don't like discussing politics.  😃

However, because this is politics that has the definite possibility of affecting dentistry, today we'll wade just a bit into what is going on.

Those of us in the profession are most likely aware that in the beginning of the budgetary debate this fall, there were initial attempts to include dental as part of Medicare.  The American Dental Association was opposed to the way the way it was proposed and worked hard with congress to find a compromise.  I won't go into great detail on all of that here as there are pages and pages of info on this that presents it much better than I can.  Just do a Google search for all the answers.

The heart of the matter today is that the process has hit a snag.  Evidently discussions were held among senators who agreed on the details and things were moving along nicely.  However, now Senator Bernie Sanders has decided to change a part of the bill to try to re-include the Medicare dental piece.

I bring this up so that regular readers here will be aware of the situation.   There is a great explanation of the situation at Bloomberg.com that you can read by following this link...  

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

SprintRay Announces North American 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.