Monday, September 20, 2021

Invisalign Partners with Ultradent for Whitening in Clear Aligners

 


As a long time fan and sometime consultant for Ultradent, I have always been a user of their Opalescence whitening system.  I've also seen Ultradent from the inside and I can gladly say that the company and their culture is incredible and one of the only such companies I am aware.  The founder, Dr. Dan Fisher, has created a corporate culture based on "do the right thing".  We could use a lot more of that in this world.  The following info was announced last week by Ultradent and Align...


Align Technology, a leading global medical device company that designs, manufactures, and sells the Invisalign system of clear aligners, iTero intraoral scanners, and exocad CAD/CAM software for digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry, today announced an exclusive supply and distribution agreement with Ultradent Products Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-tech dental materials, devices, and instruments worldwide.

As part of the multi-year agreement, Align will offer Invisalign trained doctors an exclusive professional whitening system with the leading Opalescence PF whitening formula from Ultradent, optimized for use with Invisalign clear aligners and Vivera retainers. The system will carry the co-branded name of ‘Invisalign Professional Whitening System – powered by Opalescence’ and will offer the same great whitening outcomes and streamlined practice experience dental professionals expect from the Opalescence PF product during active tooth movement with Invisalign aligners, as well as during passive retention using Vivera retainers. The Invisalign Professional Whitening System will be commercially available globally in 2022.

“A brighter, whiter smile is an important part of the Invisalign patient journey. In fact, a survey of North American Invisalign practices (1) shows that half of their patients ask for teeth whitening during or after they complete Invisalign treatment,” said Raj Pudipeddi, Align Technology chief product and marketing officer, and SVP and managing director of the Asia Pacific Region. “We believe that by providing an all-in-one solution that combines a leading teeth-whitening system with the most advanced clear aligner system in the world, we enable Invisalign trained doctors to enhance their patients’ treatment experience with a seamless workflow that also enables practice efficiency and growth. We’re very excited to partner with Ultradent to offer the first professional whitening system optimized for use with Invisalign clear aligners and Vivera retainers. Invisalign system trained doctors can use Opalescence PF for in-office teeth whitening treatment and for doctor supervised at-home whitening.”

“We’re honored to partner with Align to make the top professional teeth whitening products available to more clinicians and patients around the world,” said Ultradent President and CEO Dirk Jeffs. “Providing Align with teeth whitening products, ideal for use with Invisalign aligners and Vivera retainers, is a considerable step toward our mission of improving oral health globally and we look forward to pursuing this mission together.”

“Many of my patients would like whiter teeth as well as a straighter smile,” said Dr. Brian Amy, an orthodontist and Align Faculty member practicing in Oklahoma City. “The new Invisalign Professional Whitening System allows me to provide both simultaneously using the brands I trust.”

“After testing this system in my practice, I can confirm that the Invisalign Professional Whitening System is easy to administer and offers a great patient experience by combining whitening with Invisalign aligners or Vivera retainers,” said Dr. Jennifer Bell, a restorative and cosmetic dentist and Align GP Advisory Board Member practicing in Holly Springs, North Carolina. “The simple ordering mechanism minimizes burden on my practice to store and manage whitening products, while providing the brighter, whiter smiles we have come to expect from the Opalescence PF product.”  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Apples Big Announcements

  Apple usually has a couple of events every year to announce either new products or improvements to existing product lines.  There was a virtual event yesterday and, true to their tradition, they announced quite a few things.  Over the years it has become the event where they announce the new iPhones.

Which brings me to a quick comment.  Did you know that any 14 year old today does not remember a time without iPhones?  I find that practically hard to believe, but it's true.  Dang I feel old!

Now on to the announcements:

  • iPhone 13 Pro:  the fastest chip in any phone, a greatly improved camera that includes macro photography (the camera can focus at just 2cm, which is a bit less than an inch).  There are a ton more camera features as well.  The screen is pretty amazing with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz.  It is also OLED and is 25% brighter in the outdoors.  The processor is the A15 Bionic which has a 5-core GPU.  Apple is also touting greatly increased battery life.  All the details here
  • Watch Series 7:  Largest display in the device's history and up to 33% faster charging (I especially love that - what is a watch good for if its on the charger).  The screen is always on which isn't a new feature (its been around for a couple of versions, but I still love it).  A built in official soft QWERTY keyboard.   50% thicker front crystal to improve durability.  Improved ECG with a measurement of SPO2.  Dream Machine which is a new sleep tracking function.  For years I've used a 3rd party app for this, but this new one looks promising.  All the details here
  • iPad:  A13 Bionic Chip, True Tone software that adjusts the display to the color temperature of the viewing light (this is pretty slick).  A 12MP Ultra Wide camera.  Some models are 5G compatible for those who need an always on connection.  There is also an available Apple Pencil and a thin Smart Keyboard for those who don't want to type of the screen.  All the details here 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dental Care and Dental Equipment See Strong Growth from Pandemic Lows

 Last year was a poor year for dentistry.  In order to try and preserve PPE and also to help slow the spread of Covid-19, dentistry was shut down for most of the spring.  my practice closed on March 18th and didn't reopen until May 18th.  I was in the office, working without an assistant and handling emergencies 2 mornings a week, but that was all that was done.

Basically dental offices were closed for around 60 days.  Then we saw that reflection in the fall as all of the patients who were not seen in the spring had not scheduled their second cleaning and exam for the year so the fall was a bit lean for the profession as well.

After all of that, it is nice to see some good news.  According to an article on Axios.com, patients are returning to dental offices again.  This increase in patient visits also means that sales for dental suppliers are increasing as well.  As we all know, economies affect lots of pieces.  With the shut down of dental offices, supplies were not purchased either.  Also, repair technicians did not have much to do as no offices were needing repairs.

According to Patterson CEO Mark Walchirk, "We are at or near pre-pandemic growth rates."  That's some really great news for the industry.

For the full article, follow this link.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

My VOCO VisCalor Bulk Webinar is now On Demand


For almost a year now I've been using VOCO's VisCalor Bulk composite and I continue to be impressed with it.  I get a chance to use a lot of composites (and test quite a few as well) and this material continues to be one of my "go to" products.

Here's an example from today.  I was doing a MO composite on tooth #2.  The proximal box area was fairly wide and deep.  I wanted to make sure I got a good contact and I find it easier to do that if I don't have to place multiple layers.

My assistant Nicky said to me, "You're going to use VisCalor, right?"  When I replied in the affirmative she laughed and said, "Why did I even bother to ask?"

I truly continue to be impressed with the material and I think you will be as well.

Earlier this year, I did a webinar for VOCO about VisCalor Bulk.  It is now available on demand.  Follow the link if you'd like to learn more about why I love this composite!

It is *highly* recommended!

 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Arkansas State Dental Association Meeting this Friday

 This Friday, September 17th, I'll be doing the Keynote lecture at the Arkansas State Dental Meeting in Little Rock.  The meeting is calling it Dental Technology for the Ages and I'm pretty honored by that.


I'll be doing a full day lecture starting at 8:30 Friday morning.  If you are a dentist in the state of Arkansas, I'd be thrilled to have you come by.  If you are in a surrounding state and want to learn about what's new and what the future of our profession looks like, make it a point to be there.

I haven't had a lot of interaction with live audiences since Covid came along and I am really energized to be able to interact with my peers again.  I've always said that I probably get more out of these events than the attendees.  I love to learn and I always get so much to take back home.  I greatly appreciate it.

So this Friday, come to Little Rock for a day full of Tech stuff and some fun.  I feel we've all missed interpersonal interactions over these last 18 months or so... I know I sure have.  I am *really* looking forward to seeing many of you there!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

MouthWatch Publishes Important Whitepaper - “How Teledentistry is Delivering ROI and Driving Post-Pandemic Practice Success”

 


MouthWatch, LLC, a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices, recently published a highly informative and timely whitepaper entitled, “How Teledentistry is Delivering ROI and Driving Post-Pandemic Practice Success”

Written by CDC consultant, infectious disease expert, and teledentistry advocate Margaret Scarlett, DMD, the white paper explains the value of teledentistry beyond emergency care and specifically demonstrates how it can be used to deliver tangible ROI in everyday practice.

According to MouthWatch CEO and founder, Brant Herman, “Teledentistry proved itself to be a safe, reliable, and effective means to remain connected to patients during dentistry’s pandemic-induced shut-down. The latest whitepaper from Dr. Scarlett makes a strong business case for continuing and expanding the use of teledentistry to drive practice growth and also for remaining prepared for future emergencies.”

The white paper provides in-depth insight on how to derive optimal ROI from teledentistry, and is organized by the following main topics:

Why Teledentistry is Critical for Rapid Practice Recovery

Lessons Learned from a Pandemic

Advantages of Teledentistry for Practice Business Management

A Better Way to Track Referrals and Patient Status 

Making In-Patient Care More Efficient

How to Measure Teledentistry’s Return on Investment

"Teledentistry is being adopted rapidly, as a modern way to serve patients virtually. Coupled with in-patient care, teledentistry can provide the winning edge for today's practice, maximizing in-patient care, while staying connected,"  said Dr. Scarlett.

“How Teledentistry is Delivering ROI and Driving Post-Pandemic Practice Success” is available as a free download at: http://mwtch.co/pwngk5 For more information on MouthWatch TeleDent, visit www.MouthWatch.com/TeleDent


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 2020, the company received the following awards and accolades: The 2020 Cellerant Best of Class Award for TeleDent™, the provider-focused, patient-friendly teledentistry platform. TeleDent also won Dentistry Today’s  2020 Top Innovative Products Award  and Dentistry Today’s 2020 Reader’s Choice Award. The affordable / high quality MouthWatch Intraoral Camera was honored with the Dentistry Today Top 100 Products Award. MouthWatch was also ranked #1303 in the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies. For more information, visit www.MouthWatch.com.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Planmeca Oy Announces Intended Acquisition of KaVo Treatment Unit & Instrument Business

Here's an interesting bit of news from a press release of September 7th.  Planmeca Oy is a company with a strong presence in the dental market.  Envista is a behemoth in the industry with ownership of several companies within the dental space.  I have always referred to Kavo as "the Lamborghini of the Dental Market" and Planmeca has always had reputation for quality and innovation as well.  It will be interesting to see where this leads...


The acquisition will complement Planmeca’s extensive product portfolio and enhance the growth and competitiveness of both companies, allowing them to offer the best possible modern digital workflow to dental professionals around the world. KaVo Treatment Unit & Instruments is a renowned manufacturer and supplier of dental care units and instruments with a strong worldwide brand presence.  

Both companies will continue to operate as independent businesses, while future synergies will be sought in products, technology innovations and distribution network. 

“This partnership will make us a very strong player in the dental field. I believe our companies are a great match – we share the same standards and passion for high technology, quality and innovation, and for offering a complete digital workflow for our customers. We also share similar company cultures with a strong family business heritage. Caring for our employees and focusing on our customers have always been important values for us both,” says Heikki Kyöstilä, the owner, founder and CEO of Planmeca Group. 

“We have always had great admiration for KaVo as a premium brand. This partnership will allow us to provide exceptional value to both our customers and distributors. Our mission is to become the world’s leading provider of digital dental solutions,” states Tuomas Lokki, Senior Vice President of Planmeca Group. 

The transaction is expected to close at the end of 2021. A 51 per cent stake of the KaVo Treatment Unit and Instrument business will be acquired by Planmeca Oy, and the remaining 49 per cent by Heikki Kyöstilä as a private individual. After acquisition completion, Planmeca Group will employ a total of 4,500 people worldwide.

Established in 1971, Planmeca Oy is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Diagnocat Brings Artificial Intelligence to Dental 3D Imaging

 


Over the past few years we've seen A.I. make some impressive inroads in our world.  The funny thing about it is we often don't even see it.  Google and Apple have both done an amazing job of creating A.I. engines that can help you find that particular photo you are looking for.

Here's an experiment for you to try.  If you have a favorite pet, go to your images on your phone and in the search box, simply type in the type of animal it is.  Like "dog" or "cat".  Within seconds you should have every photo you've ever taken of that type of animal.  Not just  *your* dog mind you, but every dog or every cat in your images.  It's amazing and really cool.

The great thing about this is, say you're looking for pics of your cousin's wedding last year and you don't want to scroll through the other 3000 pics you've taken since then.  Just type in 'bride" and every picture of a bride will show up.  It's fast and a heck of a lot easier than endless scrolling.

It hasn't gotten nearly as much attention, or use for that matter, but over that same amount of time companies have been working on using A.I. for dental images as well.  Practically every company in dentistry that deals with imaging is working on some type of A.I. analysis to help locate disease and pathology.  These systems are Cloud based and harness the input from users to learn and become more accurate.

I've been fortunate enough to work with some of these programs and it is a tremendous adjunct to have the system indicating areas of concern for you.  A.I. provides an unbiased opinion and can help the doctor make better decisions.

One of the systems that I feel shows promise is one called Diagnocat.  This system will analyze 2D and 3D images and then offer feedback based on what it analyzes in the images.  While the analysis itself is pretty amazing as a component, what I really find amazing is the analysis of 3D CBCT images.



The DICOM data set is uploaded to the Diagnocat server (it is setup HIPAA compliant) and the A.I. algorithm generates a report with a panoramic format.  Under that image is a dental chart that colors each tooth according to what is discovered - healthy, unhealthy, and previously treated.  The diagnostic findings that are generated by the A.I. engine have 98% accuracy according to the company.

It even makes treatment recommendations such as "#3, Crown, caries at margin" which the doctor can evaluate clinically and then propose treatment as the see fit.

It's an incredible 'unblinking eye' that looks at everything submitted and then makes recommendations.  It is, of course, up to the doctor to make the final treatment decisions.  Software does not treat patients, doctors treat patients.

Whether you have 2D or 3D imaging doesn't matter.  Diagnocat can help make your diagnosis better.  The company offers the service for a monthly fee.  If you are interested in A.I., this is something to take a close look at.  I especially think it is important for doctors implementing complicated treatment plans who need to make sure every possible situation is evaluated.

Find out more at diagnocat.com. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Enjoy Labor Day!

 Here in the US, it is Labor Day.  It's the national holiday that sort of spells the official end of summer and the beginning of the school year.  Pools begin to close and many families and friends gather for a last hurrah of socializing before the cooler weather begins.

There are lots of outdoor activities, grilling, and general socializing.  The 3 big warm weather weekends here in the states are 1. Memorial Day, 2. Fourth of July, and 3. Labor Day.

Enjoy your long weekend and I'll be back to posting tomorrow.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Philips Respironics Recalls Certain Continuous and Non-Continuous Ventilators, including CPAP and BiPAP, Due to Risk of Exposure to Debris and Chemicals

 For many people who have suffered with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) for years, the only treatment that was originally advised was a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) device.  However, since the early days of sleep medicine there have been tremendous advances made in both diagnosis and treatment of OSA.

That's great news for individuals who suffer with OSA because it used to be entire diagnosis and treatment protocol was a great example of "when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem resembles a nail".  By that I mean that if you had the symptoms of OSA, the solution was automatically a CPAP.

The problem with that is that CPAPs are uncomfortable for most users and many try them, only to leave them on the nightstand or in the closet where they are never used.  Statistical surveys indicate that over 60% of people that are advised to wear a CPAP stop wearing it do to comfort issues.  That, of course, means that the CPAP device is only used by 40% of people who own them.  Any treatment that has a 60% failure rate deserves to be analyzed to see how that situation can be improved.

For many OSA patients, the best option can be an oral appliance.  This situation is now even more of an issue as there has been an FDA recall on many CPAP devices that are manufactured by Philips Respironics.

According to the FDA: 

"Philips Respironics, Inc., is recalling its Continuous and Non-Continuous Ventilators due to the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam, which is used to reduce sound and vibration in these affected devices, which may break down and potentially enter the device’s air pathway. If this occurs, black debris from the foam or certain chemicals released into the device’s air pathway may be inhaled or swallowed by the person using the device. The exposure to debris or chemicals could cause serious adverse events in patients such as irritation (skin, eye, and respiratory tract), inflammation, headache, asthma, hypersensitivity, nausea/vomiting, adverse effects to other organs (e.g., kidneys and liver) and toxic carcinogenic effects."

So... in addition to the comfort issue we now have a potential health issue as well.  One of the reasons that I am so passionate about OSA and its treatment is that I'm not only in dentistry, I'm also one of the millions of patients who deal with OSA in my own life.   When I discovered I was afflicted with the sleep disorder and began treatment, I could not believe the change it made in my life.

I was originally prescribed a CPAP and then went to an oral appliance which I use in combination with my CPAP.  When I learned of the recall I explored my options only to learn that there is an incredibly long waiting list to receive a new machine.  OSA can be life threatening and I am disappointed to learn that life saving devices have a long waiting list.

The reason for this post is to encourage those of you who are using one of the recalled CPAP devices to contact your dental office to see if they can help.  More and more dental professionals are learning how to treat OSA and there may very well be a solution for you that does not involve a CPAP.

I really enjoy treating OSA in my practice as I know the benefits it can bring.  I'm a living testament to that!

If you would like to learn more about the FDA Recall and the devices involved, here is a link to the FDA website that contains lots of info and more links to even more information.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Immunity Derived from Covid-19 Infection is Much Greater That What is Achieved from Vaccination

 A study that appeared last week on the medRxiv website has some interesting information. 

Basically what the study found was that individuals who have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus have greater immunity than individuals that received a vaccine.

We can call this guardedly optimistic information for those who have been infected and recovered.  It *seems* that this might potentially make them less susceptible to a reinfection in the future.

One thing worth noting here.  The data here is pretty fresh.  That means that the study methods and all other aspects have not been peer reviewed, which is an important part of the scientific process.  The authors themselves state "It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice."

If you would like to review the information for yourself, follow this link.