May 2013
Volume 34, Issue 5

3M ESPE’s Filtek™ Supreme Ultra: Offering Clinicians Exceptional Strength, Esthetics, and Handling

Over the past 15 years, the field of dental composites has been steadily improving, says Ros Randall, PhD, MPhil, BChD, Clinical Research Manager at 3M ESPE. Most notably, newer composites have enhanced longevity, esthetics, and handling as compared to their predecessors. According to Randall, the development of nanotechnology, as well as advancements in dental adhesives, have played a significant role in the betterment of composites. “Nanocomposites, in particular, demonstrate a marked improvement, as they create lifelike, highly esthetic results,” she says.

Nanocomposites offer excellent esthetics, in part because the filler size is smaller than the wavelength of light, enabling them to reflect light in a manner similar to enamel. They are also able to take on a very high gloss when polished, Randall explains. 3M ESPE’s Filtek™ Supreme Ultra is one such nanocomposite. “Filtek Supreme Ultra is an extremely esthetic, easy-to-use universal nanocomposite that can be used for both posterior and anterior restorations,” she says. “As clinicians start moving away from amalgam, the availability of a reliable direct-placed posterior restorative, such as Filtek Supreme Ultra, becomes increasingly important.”

As a nanocomposite, Filtek Supreme Ultra offers users excellent polishability and better polish retention than a microfill, along with improved fluorescence and exceptional handling. Its wide range of shades and opacities, as well as outstanding strength, make it ideal for both anterior and posterior use.

Clinicians can use Filtek Supreme Ultra for many different indications, Randall suggests. Besides direct anterior and posterior restorations, including occlusal surfaces, it is well-suited for core buildup, splinting, and indirect restorations, including inlays, onlays, and veneers. It is also radiopaque.

Randall says that Filtek Supreme Ultra’s greatest advantage is its esthetic longevity. “3M ESPE has data from an ongoing clinical study that compares Filtek Supreme Ultra with Filtek™ Supreme Plus in Class II cavities in first and second molar teeth. The results show that Filtek Supreme Ultra offers better anatomic form and improved gloss retention after one year.”

Randall adds that Filtek Supreme Ultra can be considered a biomimetic composite in that its nanofill characteristics give it “high-quality esthetics, both in shade match and gloss.” Filtek Supreme Ultra also wears at around the same rate as enamel, she says. “It’s a truly universal restorative.”

Clinicians looking to learn about Filtek Supreme Ultra—or any of 3M ESPE’s products—have a number of options available to them. “We have so many educational opportunities available to our customers,” says Randall. “3M ESPE sales reps run ‘lunch and learn’ meetings for clinicians and their teams in a seminar format that allows for detailed discussions on a product’s clinical aspects. We also organize lecture and CE courses to update practitioners.”

Additionally, there is an abundance of help available to clinicians through 3M ESPE’s “hotline,” which, Randall notes, is staffed by highly trained and knowledgeable individuals. A wealth of information is also available on the company’s website, including brochures, instruction sheets, and technical papers.

Randall fully anticipates that composite technology will continue to advance in the coming years. “I don’t think we’ve yet tapped the full potential of composite materials,” she forecasts. As for what she thinks will be the next step in dental composites: “As far as I’m concerned, the most exciting work being done is in the advances that are bringing dental materials closer in physical properties and performance to those of enamel and dentin. Recent research has shown that the structure of enamel gives it a unique combination of strength and toughness. It’s never an easy task to closely copy nature, but what research and development group doesn’t like a challenge?”

Randall is confident that 3M ESPE will continue to advance in its quest to continually improve dental composites. “The challenge to create materials with a formula that mirrors nature will lead to great things for composite technology,” she concludes.

3M ESPE Dental Products

3M Center, 275
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000

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