February 2007, Volume 3, Issue 2
Published by AEGIS Communications
Pentron Clinical Technologies, LLC
Jim Mandell, President
QUESTION NO. 1
Inside Dentistry (ID): The dental industry and the oral healthcare arena have been changing rapidly within the past 5 to 10 years. What do you see as the most significant of those changes?
Jim Mandell (JM): The major technologies that have shaped dentistry in recent years are: the use of nano-technology for composites producing enhanced physical properties and exceptional esthetics; the development of self-etching adhesives for facilitated chairside technique with improved patient comfort; the introduction of Resilon® obturation material as the first truly viable and clinically proven alternative to gutta-percha for root canal therapy; implants replacing both bridges and dentures as a preferred means of restoring missing teeth; and increased consumer demand for elective smile makeovers and bleaching.
QUESTION NO. 2
ID: In what ways—both internally and in dealing with the broader oral health care marketplace—has your company responded to these changes?
JM: Pentron Clinical was one of the first companies to introduce a true nano-hybrid composite to the dental market in 2002 with the launch of Simile®. In 2005, we augmented our highly successful line of fiber posts with the introduction of the FibreKleer® Post, a clear fiber post that further enhances esthetics and facilitates light initiation of dual-cure cements.
The product that we are most proud of is the Epiphany® Endodontic Obturation System. This is the system that introduced Resilon obturation material to the endodontic community in the Spring of 2004. The Epiphany System uses resin technology for both the obturation material as well as the sealer to create a resin monoblock in the canal that effectively minimizes microleakage over the long term.
Our most recent product launch was for Breeze Self-Adhesive Resin Cement, which was introduced at the 2006 Greater New York Dental Meeting.
QUESTION NO. 3
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your #1 priority?
JM: Our biggest responsibility is to provide the dentist with high-quality, high-performance restorative products. Patients put their trust in their dentists to choose the right materials that produce the best clinical result over the long term. Our dental customers rely on us to provide the right materials. We accomplish this by carefully researching available technologies, diligently testing our products and delivering the quality that the dental marketplace demands.
QUESTION NO. 4
ID: What product categories—whether preventive, restorative, operative, auxiliary, diagnostic, etc—do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what is currently available?
JM: At Pentron Clinical, our focus is on restorative materials. In this particular category, we see three areas that are most in need of innovation—bonding, direct composites, and endodontic obturation. There are so many generations of bonding agents available, and for each new generation of material there is a tradeoff of performance (bond strength) for convenience or speed. The technology that combines the speed and technique insensitivity of sixth-and seventh-generation bonding agents with the strength and performance of fifth-generation products will be a true innovation.
The issue with direct composites is that the truly esthetic systems available are difficult to use and difficult to learn. The recommended techniques are too complicated and abstract for the dentist who wants to practice good, and even high-end, cosmetic dentistry on a daily basis without sacrificing the chairtime necessary to apply several different shades of composite to make a single, natural-looking restoration. A simplified direct composite system with a straightforward technique that produces fabulous cosmetic results would revolutionize the practice of chairside cosmetic dentistry.
Lastly, one of the hottest areas in dentistry today is endodontics. Diagnostics, cleaning the apex, and minimizing what is basically an accepted level of failure and retreatment are all high priorities for this specialty. There needs to be a call for the use of more modern, innovative materials as well as for root canal therapy to be more successful than it is today.
QUESTION NO. 5
ID: What do you see as the best approach to the research, development, testing, and ultimate delivery to the market of such needed advancements?
JM: Clearly we need to look to material science for the advancements required to improve the practice of dentistry. Recycling existing technologies rarely yields great improvements, so we need to look to research being done at universities and businesses around the world to find materials and technologies that can be incorporated into our product formulations to meet the demands of the market. Diligent research and design efforts are required to find the perfect formulations that use new materials and maximize product performance. Once we have a formulation, we have to clear it for clinical use. Then we field test it to ensure that it delivers the best possible result to the dentist. We have established unbiased criteria for field testing new products to ensure that we introduce the right product to the market. Sometimes we have to reformulate based on feedback from field tests, which is fine because it actually helps us to perfect the product before we launch it to the general market.
At Pentron Clinical, no product is launched to the market until we are certain that it measures up to the standards of quality and performance the market demands from new products.
QUESTION NO. 6
ID: There are many challenges facing dentistry and oral health care today. How is your company helping to resolve them?
JM: As one of the major manufacturers of dental restorative materials, Pentron Clinical has an obligation to continually offer the dentist ways to improve the practice of dentistry and, thereby, improve patient health. The addition of our FibreKleer Post in 2005 introduced not only a clear post, but a stronger post as well. Our Epiphany Obturation System offers clear clinical benefits over gutta percha with its proven ability to effectively seal the canal, minimize microleakage and promote rapid healing. The clinical use of both of these products support the growing trend toward preserving natural dentition whenever possible by minimizing the potential for treatment failure and ultimately extraction.
When we develop new products, we seek to contribute to the health of the patient and the success of the dentist. Whether through improved fiber-reinforced composite technology for stronger fiber posts or innovative resin tech-nology for the increased success of root canal treatment, Pentron Clinical remains on the cutting edge of material science to bring a steady stream of new products and product improvements to the dental market.