First Impressions: February 2008

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









Danville Materials

Ahh…the joys of taking maxillary impressions! Whether one is using alginate or polyvinyl, the maxillary impression process is fraught with discomfort for both the patient and the dentist (or the auxiliary). All too often, a significant amount of the impression material manages to escape beyond the palatal periphery of the impression tray and to migrate down the patient’s throat. On lucky days, this is simply an inconvenience and results in an extended pharyngeal impression. On unlucky days, the patient gags, requiring immediate removal of the tray and a reimpression (with the patient’s reflexes now even less tolerant of the tray than before). Sometimes, even worse events can occur. Danville Materials has now introduced DAM It, a periphery extension membrane for the post-dam area. The membrane is soft and conforms readily to the patient’s palatal anatomy. The concept is simple: the membrane, a self-adhesive strip that is fitted around the flanges of the impression tray, forms a flexible “pseudo-flange” at the posterior dam area. This pseudo-flange fills the space that develops between the tray and the flexible part of the palate and serves to keep impression materials within the confines of the tray. This prevents the impression material from migrating down the patient’s throat while it is in its soft, flowable working state, causing gagging. Capturing second and even third molars is far more predictable. It can be used for all types of impression materials of any viscosity. Also, DAM It allows the dentist to impress irregular arch form and positioning by removing the tray flanges and creating a flexible extension that accommodates exostoses, lingual tori, or malpositioned teeth.

For more information, call (800) 827-7940 or visit the Web site at

Elite Implant Heavy Body Fast Set

There are literally hundreds of impression materials that are available to the dentist. Many are good, some are excellent, but specific procedures may have specific requirements. Implant impressions are one such case. The implant impression material must be rigid enough to allow no play during the transfer of information from the mouth to the model, yet it must not damage existing natural dentition. Implant impression materials are also often used during surgical appointments, where the risk of infection and cross-infection are greater. Zhermack’s Elite Implant Heavy Body Fast Set impression material is designed for total safety in the operating field; it is totally biocompatible to avoid tissue reactions. It is provided in a sterile format that is certified for surgical applications. This reduces the risk of postoperative complications arising from infections. While Elite Implant is indicated for all implant prosthetic restorations, it is an excellent choice for immediate loading procedures. Three impression material viscosities are available: heavy, medium, and light. The heavy viscosity is indicated for edentulous dental arches where only implants are present. The medium viscosity is indicated for impressions of dental arches that have implants and natural dentition. The light viscosity is used in combination with the medium viscosity material and is applied adjacent to implants or dental preparations as required. The working time is a generous 1.5 minutes, and total setting time is 3.5 minutes to minimize patient discomfort, gagging, etc. Elite Implant is also radio-paque, so that any residual impression material fragments can be identified radiographically. It also maintains its dimensional stability even after immersion in a disinfection so-lution. Elite Implant Heavy Body Fast Set impression material ensures precision implant transfers even under the most difficult of conditions.

For more information, call (877) 819-6206 or visit


The high-speed handpiece is the primary surgical tool of the practicing dentist. It is used all day, every day, in the dental practice. The differentiating parameters for selecting handpieces include ergonomics, comfort, ease of use, and functionality within the oral cavity. However, it must be remembered that any instrument that is used so actively and extensively is bound to have certain nagging problems that tend to crop up in most practices, including the complexity of ongoing maintenance and long-term repairs. SciCan recently introduced the STATIS air-driven high-speed handpiece. Porsche Studio design and German engineering combine to provide ergonomics and comfort that make the STATIS handpiece easy to use all day long. The STATIS is less tiring and more efficient. Its innovative turbine incorporates a novel cage material that lubricates more effectively, decreasing friction and thus handpiece failure and repair costs. It has one of the smallest head sizes, offering greater freedom of movement in the mouth, greater visibility and improved accessibility. While the turbine is very quiet, its 20-W power offers increased lateral cutting torque. The handpiece’s water spray systems (4 jets for the STATIS ML and a slotted nozzle for the STATIS SL) ensure optimal cooling of the operative site with a very efficient fan shaped spray. The STATIS’ 25,000-lux shadow-free illumination provides light in the operative area, where it is needed, when it is needed, greatly reducing the eyestrain that can plague practitioners. SciCan is so confident of its new handpiece technology that it provide a 3-year guarantee (for handpieces that are used in normal practice environments).

For more information, call (800) 572-1211 or visit

Cordless Etcher Handpiece

before etching
after etching

The purpose of adhesive etching is to roughen a surface such that it provides a greater area for micromechanical attachment. The greater the surface that can be exposed to an adhesive, the greater the total amount of adhesion, and thus, the stronger the bond between 2 disparate materials. The microabrasive etching of dental surfaces can be used in conjunction with, or instead of, the more conventional acid etch. In fact, when bonding to exposed abutment metal or fractured ceramic surfaces, microetching is often the difference between early failure and a longer-term repair. Groman’s Cordless Etcher handpiece is an easy-to-use surface etcher designed to prepare dental surfaces for adhesive bonding, sealants, crown and veneer cementation, and all intraoral repairs. The conveniently small active tip allows suitable access to every dental surface, from every direction, intraorally. The Cordless Etcher handpiece uses the no-mess EtchMaster prefilled disposable micro air-abrasive tips, helping to prevent cross contamination between patients. Disposable CO2 mini cartridges, offering unprecedented portability and efficiency, power this handpiece. Each disposable CO2 mini cartridge contains enough pressure to power at least 3 EtchMaster tips. Using and recharging the Cordless Etcher handpiece is simple and straightforward: the carbon dioxide mini cartridge is inserted into the cap, then the cap is screwed back tightly onto the body of the handpiece. It is then a simple matter to snap on the air-abrasive tip (containing the micro-abrasive powder), activate the nozzle, and press the flow trigger to begin the air-abrasion treatment.

For more information, call (800) 906-9298 or visit

Microlux Mirror and Exam Kit

Do you ever find yourself needing just a little more light on the tooth to see the operative (or diagnostic) area more clearly? This is the additional illumination that makes diagnosis and treatment just a little bit more precise, just a little more conservative. This phenomenon becomes more prevalent as the professional advances into the middle years. As dentists get older, their eyes’ rods and cones are less and less able to capture the light that is reflected from objects in the oral cavity; therefore, additional lighting is always welcome to compensate for this common sign of ageing. The Microlux Transilluminator has been a mainstream examining tool in the dental practice for several years. It is an excellent adjunct to radiographic and visual diagnostics. Now AdDent has released innovative accessories to the Microlux light source, the Microlux Mirror and Exam Kit. The fiberoptic mirror attachment is an optimally angled, attached front surface mirror. It provides not only additional illumination but also offers unparalleled diagnostic visibility in the difficult-to-see areas of the oral cavity. Formerly hidden buccal and distal surfaces of the rearmost molars are now readily visible. Operative treatment is simplified, and effective polishing and finishing of direct and indirect restorations is predictable and accurate since all the margins can be readily seen. The complete Microlux assembly weighs a barely noticeable 2 oz and is designed with a comfortable and ergonomic pen grip. Powered by a white LED light source, the unit emits light at 5,600°K color temperature at a power of 90 mW/cm2. The wireless power source eliminates unwieldy electrical cords tangling over the patient, and the 40-hour battery life makes frequent battery changes unnecessary.

For more information, call (203) 778-0200 or your preferred dental dealer or visit

Ivoclar Vivadent

The polishing of composites can take up a surprisingly significant amount of clinical chair time. Considering the high cost of every single chairside minute, the polishing process can thus become a very expensive proposition. Most polishing systems require a series of defined steps with multiple instruments; this requires incremental nonproductive time spent to change the polishing instruments in the handpiece as well as the confusion about the ideal instrument sequence. OptraPol from Ivoclar Vivadent is a single-step high-polishing system that has been developed for direct composites. It provides excellent polished surfaces that are achieved effectively and quickly with a single working step (eliminating the cumbersome need to change instruments in the handpiece). The high-gloss finish and low surface roughness prevents future accumulation of plaque on the composite. OptraPol is a silicon carbide abrasive, designed to be used without polishing paste; it must, however, be used with a copious water spray to avoid the overheating and possible discoloration of the restoration. OptraPol instruments are ideally used at 7,000 to 10,000 rpm. Typically, 45 to 60 seconds are adequate to polish an average restoration, and the end point is clearly demonstrated by the surface luster of the restoration material. The 12µ-grit size is particularly useful for microhybrids and microfills. (OptraPol is not indicated for removing excess material; it is specifically designed for finishing and polishing only.) The polisher’s 4 different shapes offer the clinician enough latitude to gain access to every surface of the restored tooth. OptraPol instruments can be autoclaved, offering up to 20 polishing procedures per instrument. This feature significantly reduces the per use cost of the instrument.

For more information, call (800) 533-6825 or visit

Dr. Freedman is past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a founder of the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry. He is the Chairman of the Clinical Innovations Conference (London, United Kingdom) as well as the Dental Innovations Forum (Singapore). Dr. Freedman is the author or co-author of 9 textbooks, more than 220 dental articles, and numerous CDs, video and audiotapes, and is a Team Member of REALITY. He is a past director of CE programs in aesthetic dentistry at the Universities of California at San Francisco, Florida, UMKC, Minnesota, Baylor College, and Case Western Reserve, and was the founding Associate Director of the Esthetic Dentistry Education Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr Freedman is a Diplomate of the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry and lectures internationally on dental aesthetics, dental technology, and photography. A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Freedman maintains a private practice limited to aesthetic dentistry in Toronto, Canada, and can be reached at (905) 513-9191 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .