Nov/Dec 2009
Volume 5, Issue 10

Collaborating to Define the Future

3M ESPE merges materials science and digital technology to advance dentistry.

A recent media tour hosted by 3M ESPE gave more than three dozen representatives from leading industry media outlets a look inside the company during a 2-day visit to the 3M Innovation Center, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Members of the media, including AEGIS Communications, the publishers of Inside Dentistry , participated in a series of workshops and seminars featuring the latest in innovative research, leading new products and technologies, and a commitment to educational resources for the dental industry.

During the 2-day session, attendees learned about the most recent acquisitions and innovations from 3M ESPE, and were also informed of the company’s goals and plans for next year. Attendees were invited to experience the 3M World of Innovation, an interactive presentation showcasing more than 40 core technology platforms used to develop 3M ESPE’s product offerings. Additionally, hands-on sessions gave attendees an opportunity to learn about and work with several of the company’s industry-leading products.

Future Directions

Keith Haig, marketing and professional relations operations manager for the division, presented an overview that led guests through 3M ESPE’s products for the complete life of a tooth. Haig also described the company’s commitment to innovation, and its product development pipeline that involves research from its facilities around the world. The company introduced a number of new products in 2009, including Impregum™ Soft Polyether Tray Impression Material, the Elipar™ S10 LED Curing Light, Vanish™ XT Extended Contact Varnish, and Clinpro™ 5000 1.1% Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste. In addition to highlighting the new products, Haig also spoke about the company’s education initiatives to help dental professionals stay up to speed on new technologies and sharpen their skills in clinical dentistry. Chief among these is the company’s e-learning program, found at 3MESPE.com/espertiselearning.

New Capabilities with IMTEC

3M’s recent acquisition of IMTEC Corporation was highlighted during the media tour with an overview from Doretta Anderson, global marketing director for IMTEC. Attendees were informed of 3M ESPE’s vision for development in the implant and cone beam CT businesses, with a strong emphasis on IMTEC’s MDI mini-dental implant system. These minimally invasive implants are useful for patients who may be medically, financially, or anatomically compromised. The system has clinically proven long-term success rates equal to traditional implants. Anderson also described the company’s ILUMA™ cone beam CT scanner, which enables dentists to capture a comprehensive view of both hard and soft tissue, facilitating advanced treatment planning.

A LOOK TO THE FUTURE The 3M ESPE Technology Center.

The Digital Workflow and New Advances for Labs

A breakout session on dentistry’s new digital workflow and the company’s laboratory solutions explained the Lava™ Precision Solutions Workflow, which is dramatically changing the way restorations are produced. Much of this change is enabled by the Lava™ Chairside Oral Scanner C.O.S., which presenters explained is helping make both dentists and laboratories more productive. The company shared that dentists using the system have reported a 41% reduction in seating times for single-unit crowns, as well as a remake rate that is 80% below the reported industry average, due to the crowns’ marginal fit. Presenters also explained how digital impressioning is impacting the laboratory business, by eliminating the time-consuming process of stone model making, as well as reducing remake rates. Data shows that laboratories that use impressions taken with the Lava C.O.S. can reduce remakes to 0.5%, a dramatic improvement from the industry average. The 3M ESPE laboratory business model was also discussed, with presenters explaining that the system is designed so that any laboratory can participate in the digital workflow without making a capital investment, enabling dentists to work with their existing laboratories.Additional improvements covered in the laboratory breakout session included Lava Design Software 5.0, a software upgrade that enables laboratories to design a full-contour crown. The software automatically cuts back the full contour to produce an anatomically shaped coping, creating an ideal foundation to properly support porcelain work, whether it is made with hand-layered porcelain, pressed ceramics, or the new CAD/CAM produced porcelain made with the Lava DVS, which is scheduled for release later this year. The design software also enables monolithic all-ceramic, full-cast gold and PFM through wax patterns. Furthermore, presenters discussed the continued offering of custom-designed implant abutments made from Lava™ Zirconia.

Preventive Care and Direct Restorative Solutions

Media tour attendees were brought up to date on 3M ESPE Preventive Care’s continuing innovations, including its tri-calcium phosphate ingredient, which is currently found in Clinpro™ 5000 1.1% Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste. The product’s formula allows the tri-calcium phosphate ingredient to coexist with fluoride ions in an aqueous dentifrice base, resulting in high fluoride availability. This results in the toothpaste enabling the delivery of more fluoride to the tooth, strengthening teeth and reversing white-spot lesions. The company’s popular Vanish™ XT Extended Contact Varnish, known for its fast sensitivity relief and slow fluoride release, was also discussed. The varnish uses glass-ionomer technology that offers an extended release of fluoride, calcium, and phosphate and recharges in the presence of fluoride toothpaste. This makes it effective for the treatment of exposed root surface sensitivity, as well as a site-specific coating for newly erupted teeth and other surfaces, including noncavitated lesions. A new preventive offering this year is the Preventive Measures Risk Assessment and Management Program, which provides tools to assist dental offices in the proper assessment, prevention, and care for patients with caries. This program makes it easier for hygienists to help build the dental practice with regular monitoring and treatment of caries according to patients’ risk levels.

Presenters also explained the developments in the direct restorative solutions category, which 3M EPSE sought to simplify this year with its adhsive offerings, emphasizing that Adper™ Easy Bond Self-Etch Adhesive and Adper™ Single Bond Plus Adhesive can cover virtually every case. Adper Easy Bond is suggested for use in posterior regions, and is known for its one-coat convenience and reduced risk of postoperative sensitivity. For anterior regions and bonding of indirect restorations, Adper Single Bond Plus offers high bond strength with its total-etch characteristics. Five-year clinical results were highlighted for Filtek™ Supreme Plus Universal Restorative, showing the composite wears like enamel. Attendees were able to experiment with these products in hands-on demos, as well as the recently introduced Elipar™ S10 LED curing light.

Groundbreaking Options for Indirect Procedures

An overview of 3M ESPE’s impression solutions explained to guests how 3M ESPE has achieved its position as the worldwide leader in impression materials. New this year is Impregum™ Soft Polyether Tray Impression Material, the first polyether tray material available for cartridge dispensing. Attendees were informed on 3M ESPE’s system of total solutions for impressioning, with proven products for virtually any indication or technique.

The cements and temporization session covered 3M ESPE’s range of solutions for the indirect procedure. The presentation explained how the Protemp™ family of temporization solutions, including Protemp Plus and Protemp Crown temporization material, continues to simplify dentists’ temporization procedures. Additionally, the session covered 3M ESPE’s RelyX™ family of products—including RelyX™ Luting Plus, RelyX™ Unicem and RelyX™ Veneer—easy-to-use cement solutions to meet any crown-and-bridge procedural needs.

Working Toward Further Innovations

The media tour was designed to bring the key figures in dental communications together at 3M ESPE to demonstrate the company’s recent innovations, as well as its efforts toward furthering education and its commitment to customers and the worldwide dental community. Over the course of the 2 days, attendees were presented with an impressive picture of 3M ESPE’s present achievements, as well as its plans for the future.

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