First Impressions: January 2009

 In First Impressions, Dr. George Freedman, DDS, gives readers a brief summary of products that have recently been introduced to dentistry, based on his clinical experience.

Venus White
Heraeus Kulzer

Tooth-whitening products are very commonplace in the dental profession; fortunately, it seems that the need and demand for tooth whitening among the patient population is virtually insatiable. Thus, the range of available products serves the patient population well and provides the professional with a variety of products that suit just about every tooth-whitening need. Tooth whitening, unquestionably, is an appearance-related procedure; the product must fall within aesthetic parameters. It must be effective, efficient, and discomfort-free. The packaging must be aesthetically appropriate and compativle with associated cosmetic procedures. The marketing must complement the entire concept. Heraeus Kulzer has recently expanded its Venus Esthetic System with the introduction of Venus White Tooth Whitening Gel. The material is a high-performance, mint-flavored whitening gel, and it is complementary to the Venus Smile Complete Esthetic System that offers an extensive range of cosmetic and aesthetic products, including direct, in-office, and indirect laboratory applications. Venus is the first brand in the industry that integrates direct composite solutions with indirect porcelain solutions. Venus White Tooth Whitening Gel is an additional component of the Venus system designed and integrated to provide the most natural-looking and aesthetic outcomes. Venus White at-home whitening gel is available in 16% and 22% strengths and has a shelf stability that allows it to outperform many other whitening products. Venus works quickly and gently to develop a beautiful and dazzling smile. To combat bleaching sensitivity, potassium nitrate has been included in the gel. Touch-up kits are available, recommended for patient use every 6 to 12 months. An extensive, complimentary patient marketing series with exquisitely designed brochures and counter cards is included with every order. For more information, call (800) 343-5336 or visit


The key to effective operative dentistry is good visual access and lighting. The key to a healthy back is sitting straight and working effectively through a mirror in visually inaccessible areas. Mirrors often become clogged with moisture, saliva, and debris from the handpiece. Dentists can resolve this problem; a very skilled assistant uses both air and water on the mirror to maintain a clear visual pathway, or the mirror is wiped every few seconds, interrupting dental treatment and increasing treatment cost. The EverClear by i-dent is an innovative rotating mirror that allows dentists to see clearly during operative procedures without interruptions. The working area can be visually accessed throughout the entire treatment without mirror wiping and without an additional set of hands to maintain the cleanliness of the mirror surface. The Swiss-precision mirror is a cordless, autoclavable instrument that is supplied with rechargeable batteries (1 hour charge, 1 hour in-use). Ergonomically balanced, the microtechnology mirror is sized for ready access into the most remote and difficult areas of the mouth. The EverClear spins away debris and water spray during preparation, restoration, and finishing. The spin is fast enough for clear visibility but slow enough to stop rotating immediately when a finger, tongue, or cheek touches the mirror surface, eliminating any possibility of abrading or injuring soft or hard tissues. The EverClear double-sided mirrors float magnetically on ceramic ball bearings, allowing instant mirror replacement as required. The EverClear can be used by both the dentist and the hygienist (for ultrasonic scaling) to eliminate stress and eyestrain, thereby increasing productivity by saving chair time. The EverClear saves the back and spoils the eyes. For more information, call (877) 363-4449 or visit the Web site

Digital Doc

When first introduced 20 years ago, intraoral cameras instantly became the best patient educational and marketing technology available. Intraoral cameras still occupy that same important role in the dental practice today. The patient who can see and co-diagnose the problem is prepared to have it treated, while an abstract condition described by the dentist or auxiliary is far less compelling. The early intraoral cameras were large instruments requiring their own cart; recent editions are much more efficient and practical. Digital Doc’s iCon represents the latest technology in intraoral cameras. Everything is integrated into the handpiece. The iCon has dual capture buttons (for right or left-handed use) and an innovative focus feature that adjusts from macro to full smile with a single touch. Its advanced optics and digital technology deliver a clear and highly detailed image that is excellent for diagnostics and education. The USB 2.0 connection plugs directly into the computer for fast downloading and easy viewing with the proprietary image management software. The iCon is the only USB intraoral camera designed to fit next to the high-speed handpiece in any dental unit. An array of 8 advanced white LED lights, (100,000 hours lifetime), provides a remarkably clear and detailed image with 625 scanning lines. The 4:3 aspect ratio focuses in on the tooth (or teeth) in question, ranging from 1 mm to infinity. A handpiece switch turns the LEDs on and off. 
When utilized during treatment, the lighting and magnification of the iCon provide the dentist and assistant with a larger and brighter image than can ever be possible with direct visual observation (even with magnification). The iCon elevates the standard of care in every practice. For more information, call (800) 518-1102 or visit

Platypus Flosser

Most of our patients brush every day. This is one battle that the dental profession has won with many decades of hard work, tremendous media and corporate support, and constant reinforcement. Flossing is a different issue, however; more time-consuming, more technique-sensitive, and less likely to be part of the daily routine. The problem is one of convenience, particularly for orthodontic patients with brackets. The floss must be threaded into every interproximal space, pulled through, and manipulated to clean the area where food and bacteria naturally deposit. Considering that most orthodontic patients are in their teens and somewhat less than attentive to their oral hygiene, post-orthodontic interproximal caries are almost a given. Enter the Platypus Flosser, the only flosser designed for orthodontic bracket patients that never has to be threaded interproximally. The Platypus suspends a short span of floss between 2 innovatively shaped plastic holders oriented perpendicularly to each other. Using the Platypus Flosser is easy; slide the spatula-shaped end between the orthodontic wire and the tooth, keeping pressure against the tooth and extending the flosser toward the lingual with the floss stretched tight. The flosser is slid apically through the contact, cleaning the papillary area as it is moved around. It is then removed from the interproximal area, moved to the next interproximal area, and the procedure is repeated. For those really difficult interproximal areas, the opposite end of the flosser features a short-but-effective brush that can be inserted to clean and stimulate. The Platypus Flosser simplifies flossing for the orthodontic patient. For more information, call (800) 240-9895 or visit

Butler Paster-Free Prophy
Sunstar Americas

The end of the morning (or the end of the day) is always a reflective time for the hygienist, auxiliary, or dentist who is charged with doing the prophies in the practice; a quick visual inspection of the glasses, face, or shirt often reveals little particles of the prophy paste residue speckled throughout. Like an iceberg, only a small part of the errant prophylaxis paste is readily visible; imagine the splatter that is not readily observable. In addition to the laundry implications and damage to the practice image, prophylaxis paste splatter is a major cross-infection concern. Sunstar Americas has recently introduced Butler Paste-Free Prophy technology. Its disposable prophy angles polish without paste. Thus, there is no splatter or stain on the practitioner or the patient. This pasteless prophylactic polishing offers complete visualization of the teeth, reduced cleaning time, and complete stain removal with less enamel abrasion. Since there is less rinsing and less patient cleaning, the prophylaxis procedure can be completed in less time, increasing practice efficiency and productivity. Butler Paste-Free Prophy has been shown to be 50% less abrasive on enamel than medium-grit paste. (The risk of abrasion during prophylaxis is always a clinical concern). Butler Paste-Free Prophy has been demonstrated to match the results of traditional cleaning, and it is equally effective at the beginning or the end of the procedure. There is no fluoride that may interfere with subsequent bonding, and there are no flavors to stimulate saliva. The elimination of small prophy paste particles makes it less likely that handpiece parts will become clogged and may help to reduce the breakdown of these instruments. For more information, call (800) 553-2014 or visit the Web site

GlasSpan Flowable Composites

GlasSpan has been providing flexible ceramic products for almost 2 decades. These fibers have become commonplace in the dental practice for stabilizing periodontally weakened teeth, the fabrication of minimally invasive short span, direct chairside bridges, and other short- and medium-term splinting procedures. As a direct-to-the-dentist company, the manufacturer has been responsible for providing not only the flexible ceramic bonding system but also the education, support, necessary troubleshooting, and ongoing research and technological development along with its main product. As part of its efforts to offer an expanded line of high-quality restorative materials, GlasSpan has now introduced a comprehensive line of high-performance composite resins and adhesives, again direct to the clinician, at very competitive prices. The restorative system is chameleon-like in color, blending well with surrounding enamel, dentin, and composites. Thus, fewer shades are required, and the restorative process is less technique-sensitive. The GlasSpan Anterior-Posterior Composite is available in 3 shades: A1, A2 and A3, matching accurately with established shade guides. GlasSpan Anterior-Posterior Composite is a highly wear-resistant nano-hybrid composite resin and provides excellent strength and polishability. The GlasSpan Nanohybrid Flowable Composite is available in a Universal A2 Shade. The flowable is easy to place, with excellent viscosity, and cures with every available curing light, including halogen, plasma (PAC), and LED (light-emitting diode). The GlasSpan composite family includes a unit-dose bond adhesive. The GlasSpan system of restorative materials, positioned at a price point that reflects today’s challenging economic climate, has been designed for effective and practical use in the clinical dental office by a practicing clinician. For more information, call (800) 280-7726 or visit
Dr. Freedman is past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, is the Materials & Technology Editor for Oral Health, and is the Materials Editor and author of the monthly section “First Impressions” for Dentistry Today. He is the author or co-author of 11 textbooks, more than 400 dental articles, and numerous CDs, video and audiotapes, and is a Team Member of REALITY. Dr Freedman is a co-founder of the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry and a Diplomat of the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry. He lectures internationally on dental aesthetics, dental technology, and photography. A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Freedman maintains a private practice limited to Esthetic Dentistry in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at (905) 513-9191 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .