Show Me the Way

Paul Feuerstein, DMD


This year’s International Dental Show did not disappoint: 155,000 participants from 157 countries attended, as did more than 2,300 exhibitors from 59 countries.

Figure 1. Planmeca’s Emerald Scanner.
Figure 2. Bien-Air’s Tornado and TornadoS high-torque handpieces.

The biggest dental show in the world, the International Dental Show (IDS) is held every 2 years in Cologne, Germany during March. This year, 155,000 participants from 157 countries attended, as did more than 2,300 exhibitors from 59 countries. Held in 6 large buildings, some with 2 or 3 floors utilizing more than 1.7 million square feet of space, the show is really an industry showcase with no official CE offerings, although there are several lectures given on a stage as well in the show’s enormous booths. This is a show where many companies release or prerelease products to the world markets as a preview of the future. Many of these products are not yet certified for use in the United States by agencies such as the FDA but are pending approval. Some are still in prototype or beta stage, with assurances that we will see them within a year or 2, but there are still many official launches that we will see very soon. I will be filling my upcoming columns with products that I saw and will preview a few here that really caught my eye.

The biggest groups of products fell into the prosthetic area. There were more than 50 implant companies, numerous intraoral impression scanners, many new radiography units (2-D and 3-D), and new software as well as a large number of new mills and even more impressive 3-D printers. There were also a number of restorative materials, bleaching systems, and home care products as well as some interesting orthodontic developments.

The show started with an announcement from Ivoclar Vivadent with regard to a new series of 4 mills, both in-office and laboratory, as well as a new digital denture lab system. A large buzz came from the announcement of the PrograMill 1, a small, lower-cost, 5-axis milling unit that is totally self-contained—no plumbing or compressed air necessary. There are no buttons or switches on the unit since it is controlled wirelessly, even with a smartphone or tablet. It of course mills the e.max blocks, including a zirconia block. The announcement also included a relationship with 3Shape TRIOS, although as an open system, it was assumed that others would follow.

Speaking of 3Shape, it had one of the most crowded booths as it announced a cordless version of the TRIOS scanner with improved fast-capture software. The scan unit also acts as a virtual mouse, allowing the operator to move the images around onscreen with a simple movement of the hands. The company also showed progress with its cone beam unit, which does not require the patient’s head to be still during the scan. Another new cone beam was being shown by ACTEON, X-Mind Trium. A full report is coming, but it should be noted that ACTEON’s software is remarkable.

There was also news from Planmeca, Dentsply Sirona, and others in the intraoral scanning sector. Planmeca showed its new Planmeca Emerald Scanner (Figure 1), which is more compact and weighs 183 g. Its new mill, PlanMill 40S, and 3-D printer, Creo, also added to the PlanFit system, and its new acquisition software allows extremely fast scan time and reportedly higher accuracy.

Dentsply Sirona announced that CEREC scans in its new software can be exported in a standard STL file that can be used by any laboratory and can be used by many software products as well as practice management systems. This was huge news since it is the first time that CEREC has opened up its software.

The long-awaited Condor scanner was on display as a small, compact unit with (1) a slightly different approach to software (using Linux) and (2) very sharp-looking full-color scans. Another head turner was Dental Wings, whose scanner seems to have the smallest wand and feels very much like a traditional handpiece. And speaking of handpieces, how could I leave out BienAir’s new compact TornadoS (Figure 2), keeping high torque in a small head unit.

There were several new virtual reality products introduced. One was an impressive system from J. Morita that allowed me to see the patient chart in 3-D and move objects such as x-rays around with just hand gestures. Zooming in on teeth and even looking into canals was remarkable. EyeCAD-Connect used a set of glasses (Epson Moverio) that allows you to see the patient directly but have your scan (any Windows-based software) appear virtually in front of you so the scan progress could be seen without looking over at a monitor.

Bausch, an articulating paper company, showed electronic paper and a small, wireless unit called OccluSense that had full-arch paper with sensors that the patient bit on and could also grind on. The teeth marked the usual red spots, but the computer screen showed the intensity of each mark and even had a small video of the excursions. The sensors were multiple-use (on the same patient) and could be saved for follow-up visits to see the progress of equilibration with time. The cost of the unit when launched should be less than $1,000.

I am limited here to one page to report on 5 days of running through this huge meeting. My Fitbit literally burned out soon after I left the show, where I actually surpassed more than 20,000 steps one of the days. Information and videos of many of these items can be found by simple Internet searches as well as viewed on my Facebook page, Paul Feuerstein DMD Dental Technology. Stay tuned for more details on the items listed here and for many, many more to come.

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