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An Interview with Kuraray Dental
Akihiro “Andy” Kirito, Marketing and Sales Manager
INSIDE DENTISTRY (ID): What do you see as the most significant changes in the oral healthcare arena over the past 5 to 10 years?
Akihiro “Andy” Kirito (AK): We note two major changes in restorative dentistry. The first is the increasing influence of minimally invasive dentistry (MID). The second is the introduction and increased use of CAD/CAM technology.
ID: How, internally and in the broader marketplace, has your company responded to these changes?
AK: While CAD/CAM technology is an outstanding technological advancement, those resulting all-ceramic crowns made by CAD/CAM need a high-quality cement for esthetic and durable postoperative results. Kuraray offers the dentist several options. There is the legendary PANAVIA cement. There is CLEARFIL ESTHETIC CEMENT, a high-adhesive, esthetic-oriented cement. And there is CLEARFIL SA CEMENT, an easy-to-use, self-adhesive cement. All three of these provide a higher level of adhesion and mechanical strength, as well as a superior marginal seal.
Another product, CLEARFIL SE Protect, is most helpful in the light of minimally invasive dentistry, during which the doctor tries to leave as much of the natural tooth as possible. CLEARFIL SE Protect is not only used as an adhesive, but its cavity-cleansing effect minimizes recurrent caries by killing residual bacteria. Also, its fluoride release makes teeth less vulnerable to future decay. And neither of these features—cavity cleansing or fluoride release—sacrifices any of the product’s physical strength.
With the right material, we can help patients prevent potential problems in the future. The core of Kuraray’s business is restorative dentistry, which includes many products that are appropriate for cosmetic procedures. Kuraray introduced to dentistry two technologies that changed dentistry forever: total-etch (1978) and self-etch (1993). Today we are at the fore in bringing to dentists materials that eliminate postoperative sensitivity. Our roots are strong in chemistry and the application of sound chemistry to a wide range of businesses, including dentistry. We continue to lead the field in reliable, durable, esthetically pleasing materials for use in restorative dentistry, materials that bring numerous benefits to both dentists and patients.
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your top priority?
AK: Corporate social responsibility is essential to our company today, driving Kuraray to give back in the fields of medicine and dentistry. This sense of social responsibility comes from our founder, Magosaburo Ohara. Early on, he improved the working conditions of his employees. In the early 1900s he built a hospital for them and the local community. He helped build an orphanage. He was a philanthropist when that word did not even exist. From the beginning, Kuraray has done its utmost to benefit people and the world. It is our history, our culture.
ID: What product categories do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what’s currently available?
AK: All the product categories mentioned above need further development, improvement, and innovation. Until there is a universal, reliable method of preventing dental disease, restorative dentistry will remain most important. We have made great strides in restoring tooth structure, in mimicking natural teeth, in minimizing recurring decay and disease. But, as long as there is any disease, we must provide superior restorative materials.
At Kuraray, we are continually examining and improving existing products, as well as developing new products. We are committed to offering better materials that benefit both the doctor and the patient. One example of innovation is the CLEARFIL MAJESTY series. It consists of three products: CLEARFIL MAJESTY Esthetic, CLEARFIL MAJESTY Posterior, and CLEARFIL MAJESTY Flow. CLEARFIL MAJESTY Esthetic is a light-cure restorative composite resin that contains a proprietary nano-filler and a high refractive matrix, so this composite exhibits a light diffusion property very similar to natural tooth structure. This allows the dentist to use only a single shade per restoration, although usually these cases require body (opaque) shade and enamel (translucent) shade. CLEARFIL MAJESTY Posterior contains an extraordinary amount of filler, 92wt%. Far exceeding what conventional composites can achieve, it has very high physical properties and very low polymerization shrinkage. This product is more like ceramic than conventional composite. CLEARFIL MAJESTY Flow has very high filler loading, 81wt%, unheard of in a flow product, but more like a universal composite resin. Thus CLEARFIL MAJESTY Flow is strong enough to be used for Class I and II restorations. Such unique products are possible because of Kuraray’s unique filler coating technology, which we have applied here to the dental field.
ID: How is your company helping to resolve the challenges facing dentistry and oral healthcare today?
AK: The Kuraray Group embraces about 50 companies in Japan and abroad, with approximately 7,000 employees, working in several key fields besides dentistry. We have many personnel dedicated solely to dental R&D, people who work every day to resolve every existing problem or challenge they can. They constantly think of, search for, and discover ways to improve dental materials. Our expertise in polymer technology enables Kuraray to offer better and better materials that improve oral healthcare.