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Educating Others Keeps Clinician Up-to-Date
Lowe uses Beautifil® II LS with bioactive technology to expand treatment capabilities
Robert Lowe, DDS, did not decide to become a dentist until his senior year in college, so his vision for his career was developed almost entirely during his subsequent years at the Loyola University School of Dentistry. Lowe was particularly inspired by one guest lecturer, Harold M. Shavell, DDS, who was a high-level restorative dentist from Chicago, Illinois.
"He gave us a life-changing presentation," Lowe says. "When I saw the advanced work that he was doing, which was far beyond what schools were teaching, I turned to one of my friends and said, ‘that is what I want to do.'"
In addition to the advanced level of treatments that Shavell was offering his patients, he also devoted a significant amount of his time to providing education. Lowe modeled his own career in a similar way, starting with small table clinics and eventually lecturing to larger audiences internationally."It is my life, along with being a full-time practicing dentist," Lowe says.
One tends to follow the other, as Lowe has discovered during the course of his career that his involvement as an educator helps him be a better dentist.
"When you are a professional, you are only as good as your last case, and you are always striving to improve," he says. "With the number of materials and technologies now available, the profession has profoundly changed during the past three decades. One of the blessings of being a teacher, author, and lecturer in addition to being a clinician is that I stay up-to-date on the latest developments."
While focusing on restorative, esthetic, and cosmetic dentistry, Lowe has paid particularly close attention to composites. A class of material once relegated to anterior use only, he says, it is now much more versatile and reliable.
"The wear characteristics of composites have improved to the point where they can withstand the occlusal forces of chewing and biting in the posterior," he says. "Also, the technology allowing us to bond to tooth structure has changed what we can do."
However, until very recently, challenges still remained. Shrinkage and wear rates continued to pose issues. Most filling materials, Lowe says, were inert and occupied the space in the tooth made by the preparation without any capacity to react with the surrounding tooth or microenvironment in any way.
A groundbreaking development came when Shofu Dental Corporation introduced Giomer technology to its Beautifil line. Giomer technology leverages Shofu's proprietary surface pre-reacted glass (S-PRG) filler particles, which actively release six beneficial ions: fluoride, sodium, strontium, aluminum, silicon, and boron. It has been shown to inhibit plaque formation and possess remarkable acid neutralization capabilities.
"The Giomer material is unique among composites," Lowe says. "When I lecture, I tell dentists that they need to think about being doctors; it is not just about filling space. Some patients are really good with home care, but others do not seem to know which end of the toothbrush has the bristles. A material that interferes with plaque adherence is a useful material for any dentist's armamentarium."
Shofu recently updated the line with Beautifil® II LS (ie, low shrink), which has been formulated to minimize polymerization shrinkage and resultant shrinkage stress. It features exceptional strength and high wear resistance as well as tooth-like esthetics with natural fluorescence and a chameleon effect.
"Because there is no standard size among carious lesions that the dentist fills using direct composite, shrinkage was an issue that we wrestled with for a long time" Lowe says. "The number of surfaces involved in the restoration and the size of the caries or preparation has an effect on the material. Excessive shrinkage can adversely affect the bond of the material to the adhesive and can cause postoperative sensitivity and a host of other problems. Adding a low-shrinkage composite to the catalog makes good sense."
Among others, patients who cannot afford an indirect restoration and settle for a large direct composite can benefit from the low shrinkage effects of Beautifil II LS. All patients, of course, can benefit from the Giomer technology.
"During my lectures, I tell people that to think that everything we do will be perfect and last forever is not realistic," Lowe says. "Despite that fact, my goal is to do everything that I can to stack the deck in the patient's favor."
For more information, contact:
Shofu Dental Corporation