ADA Show Report: When Gordon talks, dentists listen

2007 10 04 10 27 46 706

SAN FRANCISCO - Gordon Christensen, D.D.S., Ph.D., is no pushover. Dr. Christensen has seemingly used and tested every dental product on the planet. (The results of which often appear in his highly regarded CRA Newsletter). In a recent session on "New Aspects of Dentistry 2007" held at the ADA's 148th annual convention in San Francisco, Dr. Christensen surveyed everything from resins to LED headlights and found many wanting -- and found some gems he couldn't resist praising. His quick takes:

  • Veneers are wildly popular. "Veneers probably make up a third of U.S. dental lab revenues," Dr. Christensen said. "And probably a third of the veneers applied by dentists were unnecessary." Still, if you're doing veneers (prepless and otherwise), you need the right tools. Dr. Christensen is big on the Zekrya Gingival Protector (Clinician's Choice, New Milford, CT) a curved stainless steel protector that's good during tooth preparation, especially with veneers.
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The Zekrya curved gingival protector
is good during veneer prep.
  • The right resin curing light can save you a ton of time. A conventional halogen light takes 30 seconds to do a job that an ultra fast halogen light or a plasma arc can do in three. The downside? These lights are hot. "You won't barbeque someone -- but if you're not careful, it's easy to create cracks in the resin," he said. The trick? Don't aim the light like a pistol on one spot. Move the head around to equally distribute the heat.
  • Other fave tools for doing veneer work include the Ho Mylar Matrix Roll (Ho Dental Company, Las Vegas) (9 microns thin -- just the thing during cementation); the Composi-Tight Silver Plus (Garrison Dental Solutions, Spring Lake, MI) (a great tooth separator); TrioDent's V-Ring system (a killer nickel-titanium sectional matrix retainer ring); Danville's Contact Matrix (a sectional matrix system) and Contact Wedge products (for that "ideal" cervical seal); Envison Dental's ContactFormer (for tight, contoured contacts with composite restorations); Filtek Supreme Plus (a universal restorative with improved shade blends), and Tokuyama America's Estelite Sigma (a light-cured submicron filled resin composite).
2007 10 04 10 27 46 706
Need to separate some teeth? The
Composi-Tight is Dr. Christensen's fave.
  • Dr. Christensen was also quick to deflate the trendy products that every dentist thinks he or she needs ... and to point to some winners that are must-haves. "Remember air abrasion? Interesting idea, but it turned your office into the Sahara Desert. So they added water (hydroabrasion), which turned all that dust into mud. Which, at least, was easier to clean up," said Dr. Christensen. Still, he said, it's a viable concept worth considering.

Bleaching lights? Dump 'em, he cried. Caries detection devices? Get one -- just remember they're hardly foolproof. CAD/CAM systems? At $115,000 a pop, they're not for everyone. Wait for the competition to heat up. Digital photography? Duh -- it's time to get on board this bandwagon.

Digital radiology? A quick survey of the audience showed that at least half have a digital setup -- but only 15% have gear for taking digital panoramic shots. "Just do it," Dr. Christensen said. "It's cheaper than raising kids!"

Electric handpieces? "We're 15 years behind the rest of the developed world on this." Dr. Christensen uses them, but noted two notable problems: Lube the tool well or you can burn a patient's lip, and the head may be too big to fit in smaller mouths.

In-operatory computers? "Get two," Dr. Christensen said. And while you're at it, he added, pick up a copy of Adobe Photoshop.

Lasers? Acceptance is growing, but "we're still evaluating them, especially for periodontal work."

Plastic orthodontics, such as Invisalign? "It's wonderful stuff. So is the Minor Tooth Movement product from Dentsply Raintree Essix for moving two to four teeth, " he said.

His parting advice? "Don't get carried away by all this gadgetry. You can spend a lot on trinkets. Think carefully about what's best for you."

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