July/August 2009, Volume 30, Issue 6
Published by AEGIS Communications
Kerr Composites: Resin Restorative Technology at its Finest
What’s in the pipeline these days for Kerr? A more accurate question would be: What is Kerr’s next new technology that will advance the dental industry? With a long legacy of innovation, it would be reasonable to expect Kerr to be looking to drive not just incremental change in most restorative categories but seismic change, according to Vice President of Global Marketing and Innovation Leo Pranitis. “While improving on our existing competencies, Kerr continues to invest deeply in the development of revolutionary products that the industry has yet to see.”
Kerr products are used daily around the globe in every type of dental restorative procedure. “Our philosophy encompasses a lot more than simply working with a scientist and bringing a product to market,” says Pranitis. “We combine customer interaction with scientific competencies, rigorously vetting ideas with both R&D and the customer before bringing anything to market. We’re extremely passionate about tying these two efforts together.”
Kerr is equally committed to educating the dental community, the sales force, and distribution partners, while cultivating a reciprocal relationship with practicing dentists. “Dentists should expect that we have fully tested our new products before putting them on the market,” Pranitis says. “Driving a robust ideation funnel by using our proven process allows us to crystallize the best concepts into world-class product offerings. We’re very proud of our evolution as a company over the last 120 years. Kerr product lines cover the broad spectrum of the restorative continuum, offering bonding agents, esthetic and temporary cements, alloys, impression materials, composites, and a number of products for the dental lab industry, which is undergoing dynamic change.”
Kerr’s diligence in gathering information about the voice of the customer includes focus groups, raw feedback, sessions with distributors who visit dentists daily, discussions with key opinion leaders, and collection of as much information as possible to fully understand and ultimately serve the patient. “We’re committed to more fully understanding what lies ahead by connecting deeply with the customer. That customer base includes more than just dentists,” Pranitis continues.
Kerr recently launched Herculite® Ultra, a universal nanohybrid composite. Available in 10 Vita-matching shades, it has the same resin matrix and builds on the clinically proven foundation of the Herculite brand, which has filled more than 250 million teeth since 1984. Herculite Ultra contains the unique patented Point 4 (0.4-µm) barium glass filler that Kerr introduced in 2000, as well as prepolymerized filler (PPF) and silica nanofiller. This combination provides optimal handling characteristics. The PPF increases the surface asperity so Herculite Ultra does not stick to dental instruments, is easily sculpted, feathers to a fine margin, and does not slump. The 0.4-µm filler also demonstrates high polishability and great wear resistance and mechanical properties.
Particle size plays a critical role in gloss retention. Eventually, the resins in composites wear away, resulting in a rough surface and exposed glass fillers. This surface disperses light reflection, dulling the restoration, and it increases susceptibility to surface staining. “Our prepolymerized fillers are preshrunk, wear uniformly, and create a long-lasting glossy finish,” says Product Manager Mikhanh Pham. Herculite Ultra contains a patented opalescent agent that “has an orange tint and a bluish reflection, important because it simulates the way a tooth holds or reflects light in real life.” Herculite Ultra has excellent translucency, which improves the chameleon effect—the ability of a restoration to blend well with surrounding natural teeth. “This allows for superior tooth blending from a single shade, which is ideal for the general practitioner,” Pham explains.
Kerr also recently optimized the formula for Premise, a universal nanohybrid restorative composite material comprised of 0.4 filler and PPF, giving it the strength of a hybrid. The combination of fillers provides overall loading durability, microfill-like wear characteristics, and easy handling. Premise is highly sculptable, has minimal shrinkage, offers superior long-term luster retention, and can be used for both anterior and posterior restorations.
Kerr’s expertise in resin restorative technology has come full circle. “Launched in 1984, the original Herculite was the very first universal submicron hybrid composite,” Pranitis says. “At Kerr, we take pride in the composite portfolio we’ve refined over the better part of three decades; nearly all of the most important modern advancements seen in today’s composites were first seen in a Kerr composite.”
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