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3M ESPE Composites: Making Dentistry Faster, Easier, Better
Offering clinicians a variety of options to perform a vast array of procedures, composites are one of the most widely used materials in the dental industry. Dr. Brad Craig, Lead Product Development Specialist at 3M ESPE, says that since composites offer such a high level of utility, clinicians are seeking products that are versatile and that meet their needs in both performance and esthetics. At 3M ESPE, he says, composites are made from extremely durable and adaptable materials and offer outstanding esthetics for the anterior as well as superior wear resistance and strength for the posterior. “It’s important to us that the clinician be able to use 3M ESPE composites literally anywhere in the mouth,” says Dr. Craig.
Dr. Craig cites recent advancements in the area of lasting esthetics as a key reason for 3M’s product versatility. “We now have the ability to manipulate material on a scale below the wavelength of visible light, which allows for a combination of optical and mechanical effects that previously was not available,” he states. 3M ESPE’s composite materials are able to mimic optical effects that occur in natural tooth enamel such as opalescence, which Craig credits to nanotechnology. “The intimate contact between the components that make up the composite on a nanoscale has really enabled composite esthetics to take a major step forward,” he says.
The use of nanotechnology in composite fillers has become increasingly popular, and, according to Dr. Craig, it has helped dramatically improve handling and overall ease of use for clinicians. On top of this, he adds, patients benefit from better end-results.
Mary Doruff, 3M ESPE’s Senior Technical Service Specialist for Dental Products, credits nanotechnology for enabling composites to become more usable in all areas of the mouth. “Prior to the use of nanotechnology, many clinicians would use microfills in areas where esthetics was a primary concern and they would use universals for areas requiring a stronger composite. Nanotechnology allows one composite to be used in both situations,” says Doruff.
3M ESPE’s Filtek™ Supreme Ultra Universal Restorative is a leading nanocomposite that offers a variety of body shades, providing universal options to clinicians to help simplify the creation of restorations while maintaining versatility for different layering techniques. As the company says about its product, “One simple shading system. Endless possibilities.”
A true “universal” composite, Filtek Supreme Ultra restorative’s outstanding strength allows it to be used in the posterior, while it’s excellent polishability and polish retention make it a solid choice for anterior restorations. Dr. Craig believes one of Filtek Supreme Ultra’s greatest strengths is its permanency, as it has the durability and wear properties of a modern hybrid composite. “The wear resistance of this material is in a class by itself,” he says.
Beyond offering outstanding composite products, 3M ESPE is also dedicated to educating the clinicians who use its materials. 3M ESPE sales representatives offer educational lectures, “lunch and learn” seminars at dental offices, and the company presents lectures, continuing education courses, and restorative workshops at various locations throughout the US and worldwide. The company also has an extensive technical support organization. “We have a large group of people committed to helping the clinician, ranging from our sales reps to our assistance hotline. People within our technical service group are also able to reach out to our laboratories for answers regarding specific topics or items of complexity,” says Dr. Craig.
Dr. Craig believes that the future of composites is in continuing to make the materials “faster, easier, and better.” “We’re always trying to make the restorative procedure easier for the clinician and better in end-result for the patient,” he says. Dr. Craig also mentions that because a number of countries are starting to “legislate away” the use of mercury/amalgam materials, composites will become an even more essential material in the dental office.
“It’s a safe assumption that the work we do with composites at 3M ESPE will continue to evolve and, ultimately, improve—for the benefit of both the clinician and the patient,” says Dr. Craig.
3M ESPE Dental Products
3M Center, 275
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000