July 1, 2012
by George Freedman DDS, FAACD, FACD, FADFE
The world of dentistry is constantly changing. Usually for the better. Once very slow to adopt and adapt, dentistry is now one of the fastest-advancing. Some developments have been revolutionary; a single invention, development, or individual radically alters the delivery of care.
Most dental innovation is evolutionary, however. A newly introduced concept, material or technique meets with variable success. It lapses into obscurity or disappears from the marketplace. Manufactures and clinicians, sensing further potential, continue to improve the idea. The progress is often slow, but the innovation advances and matures, often facilitated by seemingly unrelated developments. Over time, an effective, exciting new technology finally emerges that fundamentally affects dental practice. A technology may be effective, but too early, without the necessary infrastructure. Micro-abrasive preparation, introduced in the 1930s (and again in the 1960s) had little success; it was not suited to amalgam restorations. 1990s adhesive dentistry made micro-abraded preparation clinically practical, and the technology finally hit the mainstream. Dental lasers first appeared in 1990. Too technique-sensitive and too expensive, they failed to penetrate the general practice for 2 decades. Inexpensive and easy-to-use diode lasers have mainstreamed this excellent technology. Enamel etching, first described in the mid-1950s, waited 20 years for the first bonding agents, and another decade for predictable adhesive composites to become the restoration of choice in dentistry.
These examples show the importance of taking a close look at re-emerging materials and technologies. They often represent the culmination of decades of intensive research, development, and clinical input on great original ideas that just needed that little extra something.
This issue targets re-emerging technologies and treatments with greater impact now than when first introduced. The science is more comprehensive, the clinical data more extensive, and the equipment better and easier to use.
Periowave has a more ergonomic handpiece and an easier-to-place photo-activating liquid. Significantly, recent scientific publications demonstrate its clinical benefits.
The Perimeter Prep is the first comprehensive clinical approach to conservative repair of existing composite restorations. The Proactive Intervention concept combines minimally invasive instrumentation and highly flowable restorative materials in a tooth-friendly treatment approach.
CarieScan’s new automated multifunctional documentation simplifies diagnostic notation during examination, long-term historical assessment of patient oral care and health, and patient education and motivation.
Captek’s re-engineered, non-oxidizing metal ceramic crown-and-bridge technology improves non-cast gold and ceramic strength. The absence of oxides offers increased marginal fit and plaque resistance, for better gingival health and marginal seal stability.
Research-supported Waterpik water flossing has been available for 50 years; recent studies specifically comparing “water flossing” to “string flossing” are surprising, to say the least. They make an excellent case for adding this technique to routine home care.
The DentalVibe2 effectively closes the neural “pain gate” to the brain for a more comfortable intra-oral injection.
Re-emerging evolutionary technologies are often more proven, better researched, and more clinically tuned than the revolutionary ones. These exciting re-innovations are well worth a second look.OH