First Impressions: April 2010

Dentistry Today


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

OralCDx BrushTest
OralCDx Laboratories

Oral cancer has not demonstrated a decrease in mortality rates over the past century of documentation. The major reason for this is that oral cancers are typically detected late in their progress. By the stage an oral lesion actually appears suspicious during routine examination, it may be dangerous and possibly life-threatening. The typical at-risk population consisted of older males who drank and smoked heavily. Today, this risk-group is more generalized, including younger women and men and nonsmokers. In fact, at least 25% of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors. Fortunately, visible light detection techniques have popularized the need for earlier efforts in the detection of oral cancers and at-risk tissues. These methods, however, cannot rule out the actual presence of dysplasia or cancer. OralCDx Laboratories’ OralCDx BrushTest is a noninvasive, easy-to-administer method for ruling out the presence of dysplasia, which is often visible but blends with common tissue variations. The early diagnosis of dysplasia, while it is still harmless, is the key to preventing oral cancer. Dysplasia and cancer differ in that dysplastic precancerous cells are contained above the basement membrane and are essentially harmless. Cancer cells have penetrated below the basement membrane and can now spread. The BrushTest procedure begins with a visual diagnosis of epithelial color variation, with a visible diagnostic light or directly. The OralCDx brush is swabbed on the suspicious site to help rule out dysplasia. Cellular material is then transferred to the slide, fixed, and then sent to OralCDx, the world’s largest specialized oral pathology lab. The process uses advanced pathology and computer science to analyze each specimen and provides a detailed lab report as well as personalized follow-up support. When diagnosed early and treated, oral cancer can be prevented, in most cases. For more information, call (877) 712-7874 or visit

Ultrapro TX
Ultradent Products

There are many dental handpiece choices: high-speed, low-speed, or a combination thereof. Universal attachments make a single motor usable for many tasks, but the efficient practice optimizes clinical procedures by choosing specifically designed handpieces for the most commonly performed treatments. It is often forgotten that dental team members other than the dentist also use handpieces. Since hygienists are required to use the instrument for the greater part of the day (mostly for prophylaxis), it is understandable that they find a heavy handpiece tiring. Ergonomic design is also crucial; a handpiece that is not balanced and easy to hold will again tire the hygienist out long before the day is over. Prophy paste splatter is another all-too-common problem for both the hygienist’s and the patient’s clothing. Ultradent has introduced the lightweight (2.1 oz) Ultrapro TX handpiece developed specifically for the dental hygienist. It is constructed from low-weight anodized aircraft aluminum. Designed within strict ergonomic parameters, the Ultrapro TX is balanced and comfortable to use over extended periods. The stress-relieving swivel allows it to be used in every part of the mouth without putting pressure on the operator’s wrist or arm muscles. The 5:1 reduction motor provides output of 3,500 rpm at typical working pressures, gentle enough for the most sensitive patient. The handpiece motor is vibration-free, again ensuring greater comfort for the hygienist over the long practice day. The soft-start motor prevents prophy paste and saliva splatter, but the unit’s high torque delivers enough power to remove even the toughest stains with the appropriate prophylaxis paste. Very significantly for the practice’s overhead considerations, the Ultrapro TX handpiece is a low- maintenance unit. For more information, call (800) 552-5512 or visit

Jumar Corp

How often do patients present with temporomandibular disorder symptoms that include headache, neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, pain from whiplash, etc? Even the initial diagnostic process for these conditions is necessarily long and tedious. Patients typically seek immediate relief, with the intention of a more comprehensive treatment to follow. The Aqualizer was introduced many years ago, but I just began to use it recently. The Aqualizer consists of 2 fluid-filled pads with a connecting channel. The pads are placed in between the posterior teeth on both sides, and the patient bites down. The channel allows the fluid to move back and forth between the pads, developing a perfect fit generated by the patient’s own occlusal relationship. The Aqualizer’s occlusal floatation proprioceptively encourages the muscles to correctly position themselves in a balanced occlusion, eliminating strain and pain almost instantly. Patients often feel better in just minutes. The Aqualizer can preview the benefits of an optimally balanced occlusion. (If it relieves discomfort, occlusal treatment is indicated.) During comprehensive restorative dentistry, once the Aqualizer has reduced temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort and reconditioned the muscles to a more relaxed state, it is easier to translate the more predictable bite relationship to models for fabricating diagnostic rehabilitation devices, nightguards, and bruxism appliances. Back from the lab, these devices will fit more accurately and require minimal adjustment upon delivery. I have occasionally used chewing gum to relieve the TMJ tensions caused by the routine stresses of normal life. The first time I tried the Aqualizer, it eliminated my TMJ tension within minutes. Now, when in discomfort, I simply insert an Aqualizer between my posterior teeth and know I will be comfortable momentarily.For more information, call (800) Help-TMD (435-7863) or visit the Web site at

Transcodent Painless Steel Dental Injection Needles

Ah, the joys of the intraoral injection. Dental anesthesia has made dentistry comfortable enough for the vast majority of the population such that dentistry and dental treatment are no longer as feared or disliked as they once were. However, this dental fear (or phobia) has, for many patients, transferred into an apprehension and dislike of the dental injection itself. Typically, the dental injection is the precursor to minor dental/oral surgery (restorations, endodontics, periodontics, and gingival curettage, among others) numerous times every single day. For the patient, the injection is a sharp, pointy object penetrating the soft, sensitive tissues as it delivers the anesthetic. Transcodent has introduced its Transcodent Painless Steel Dental Injection Needles. They are single-use sterile needles for delivering dental anesthesia. The needles are ground to a 3-edged lancet that allows them to readily penetrate the tissues. Less trauma upon penetration means less discomfort for the patient. Further, the canula is siliconized to make its glide through the tissues smoother and less uncomfortably for the patient. As expected, patients generally report that the Painless Steel Needles seem to cause less discomfort than earlier products. Painless Steel Needles undergo ethylene oxide sterilization and are delivered in a heat-sealed needle container to eliminate possible contamination. The bevel mark on each syringe provides optimal syringe positioning for the dentist. Painless Steel Syringes are available in 3 gauges: 25, 27, and the practical 30. They are also offered in short and long in 25 and 27 gauge and the short and very useful extrashort (13 mm) in the 30 gauge. Transcodent Painless Steel Dental Injection Needles are dental injections made more comfortable. For more information, please visit the Web site For distributors, please contact Patterson Dental at (800) 873-7683 or; Benco Dental at (800) GO-BENCO or; or Burkhart Dental Supply at (800) 562-8176 or

Dr. Freedman is a founder and past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a co-founder of the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry. He is a visiting professor at the Universita di Firenze, Florence, Italy. He is the Special Advisor of First Impressions and Buyers’ Guides for Dentistry Today. He is the author or co-author of 11 textbooks, more than 600 dental articles, and numerous Webinars and CDs, and is a Team Member of REALITY. He lectures internationally on dental aesthetics, adhesion, desensitization, composites, impression materials, and porcelain veneers. A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Freedman maintains a private practice limited to aesthetic dentistry in Toronto. He can be reached at (905) 513-9191 or