Ask Marty: What cool products did you see at this year's Chicago Midwinter Meeting?

2014 02 13 13 44 51 873 Ask Marty200x200

Q: What cool products did you see at this year's Chicago Midwinter Meeting?

A: Chicago Midwinter is the meeting in the U.S. where a lot of new products and equipment are debuted. I go every year to see what is new for my office and take the pulse of the dental industry.

The coolest thing I saw at this year's was Sirona Dental System's biogeneric software. A simple scan of a patient's teeth with the Cerec AC digital impression wand precisely reconstructs the patient's natural occlusion based on their tooth morphology. This is personal customization of a patient's crown or inlay to fit their dentition.

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A reconstruction from version 3.8 of the Cerec biogeneric software by Sirona Dental Systems.

Version 3.8 of the Cerec software enables dentists to create lifelike reconstructions -- even while working with completely damaged occlusal surfaces. The software can be used for all single-tooth restorations and three-unit bridges with either a Cerec milling unit or via the inLab software. Thus, restorations can be fabricated in either your office or favorite laboratory.

In addition, Sirona is launching a desktop scanner for labs, called the inEOS Blue. The scanner can be utilized as a standalone unit or in combination with the inLab milling unit for complete in-house production. inEos Blue can also export scans in stereolithography (STL) file format, giving labs the flexibility to work with the files in third-party design software. I will provide more information on this technology in the near future.

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An image from the GXCB-500 HD cone-beam CT system from Gendex Dental Systems.

Building on its award-winning 3D design, Gendex Dental Systems introduced the GXCB-500 HD medium field-of-view cone-beam CT system, featuring a high-definition sensor for precise i-CAT-powered 3D scans and detailed 2D pan images. The GXCB-500 HD offers scan flexibility, fast workflow, and integration capabilities. As a result, clinicians can select 3D scans and traditional 2D pans, choose scan sizes specifically designed to work with targeted procedures, and blend technologies for a wide variety of treatment options.

Some new caries detection devices were also on display at the Chicago meeting. Joining the Air Techniques Spectra is the Acteon SoproLife, a combination intraoral camera and caries detection device. These devices rely on fluorescence to determine caries. The Spectra gives nice photographs with numerical indications for the caries, which can be saved. The SoproLife gives video that the dentist interprets for caries, along with the ability to magnify and view teeth with the camera in a conventional mode.

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The SoproLife from Acteon.

I like electric handpieces and currently use one from Bien-Air Dental. If you are not ready for electrics, you have some enhanced choices, such as the Stylus ATC smart air handpiece from Dentsply. This is not a hybrid electric; it's a straight air-driven handpiece with an attached sensor that controls the amount of air to the turbine. It cuts much faster and with more torque than a conventional handpiece, even under load. (Check out this video comparison of the Stylus ATC handpiece.)

I also like ProDrive Systems turbines, which are designed to upgrade your existing air-driven handpiece. The ProDrive System is the first turbine and bur locking system that improves the performance of high-speed handpieces. The burs are triangular and lock into the turbine to eliminate bur slipping. You can also lengthen your bur without the chance of the bur wiggling out because it is locked into place.

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The ProDrive System.

Other products to be on the lookout for (they haven't been officially released yet) are in-office digital impression scanners that allow you to take an impression and scan it right in your office. This will cut down on shipping expense and cut the fabrication time -- turnaround for a crown could be only a week! Also, a new CAD/CAM-produced surgical guide machine, to make implant placement more predictable, and a hybrid-processed long-term temporary crown that can be fabricated in your office.

I can't wait to see what Chicago Midwinter brings us next year!

Martin Jablow, D.M.D., is a practicing dentist and a self-professed technophile who lectures and blogs on a variety of technologies used in dentistry ( If you have a technology question for Dr. Jablow, e-mail it to us at [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2010

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