Electric Handpieces: There’s an App for That
The iOptima from Bien-Air
Adding the benefits of digitization to a proven, high-quality product is always exciting, and Bien-Air's iOptima handpiece is no exception. The iOptima's innovative use of an application for smart devices to manage the various dental functions of the handpiece earned it a Cellerant Best of Class award.
"This will make a huge impact on dentistry," says Jay Morrow, DDS, associate dean for preclinical education at the Midwestern University School of Dental Medicine, Glendale, Arizona.
Morrow, who has been teaching for 12 years after 13 years in practice, has long been a proponent of Bien-Air's Optima line. He first saw the concept for the iOptima approximately 3 years ago when it was first being developed, and he was intrigued enough to keep checking in about it.
"Once the iOptima was ready, we immediately wanted it because it would allow us the chance to become somewhat future-proof," Morrow says. "Because everything runs on software, the iOptima's application is replacing a lot of the equipment needed for handpieces. For endodontics and implants, a dentist no longer necessarily needs to take a huge risk by purchasing machines that may quickly become obsolete. Now, you just need the handpiece and the application."
The iOptima seamlessly integrates performance-enhancing technologies into an uncomplicated experience, using Bien-Air's venerable brushless micromotors and more innovations than any other retrofit system in its class.
"It is very forward-thinking," Morrow says. "When we first heard about it, we had never considered that equipment could be replaced by an application. Bien-Air is always thinking ahead, and when they eventually showed us the finished product, some of the features blew me away. It has everything that a dentist could want for restorative dentistry, implants, and endodontics. It has the necessary data for many file systems. Instead of needing to program in the speed and torque for every file, a dentist can simply touch an image of the file, and the application automatically changes to the necessary speed and torque. The application is undergoing constant development as well; several times I have suggested ideas, and they have told me they are already working on them."
In its clinic and preclinic, Midwestern University networks everything, including scanners, mills, 3D printers, CBCT machines, and planning software, in order to operate in a streamlined manner without the need for dedicated units everywhere.
"It is a very efficient way to do everything," Morrow says, "so we were excited about the opportunity to network our electric handpieces as well. We can simultaneously update them from our servers or online as features become available. Just like other smart devices, until the software changes so dramatically that it becomes too powerful for the hardware, the hardware does not need to be altered for updates. This is the future."
In this case, the hardware itself has been well established as being of the highest quality.
"Bien-Air, of course, produces a great handpiece," Morrow says. "There are many great handpieces on the market, but we value long-term relationships with companies. We need strong customer service, because device issues can make or break a dentist. If you cannot get things done, it is bad for patients, students, the clinic-everyone. We develop strong relationships with companies because we operate as a family; we like the people we work with at Bien-Air, and we trust them."
"When a company is developing product innovations that are even more forward-thinking than we are dreaming about, that is really amazing," he says.
Bien-Air says the functionalities of the iOptima application and the performance of its electric instruments combine to significantly reduce the time taken for procedures, making them up to four times faster. And the iOptima's performance and possibilities improve with each free update for the application.
"The technology in the digital environment has taken off so rapidly in the last 5 years with CAD/CAM, materials, digital dentures, and now developments such as the iOptima's application," Morrow says. "It is finally here, usable, precise, and complimentary to what we did previously."
Jay Morrow, DMD, maintained a private practice for 13 years and is now the associate dean for preclinical education at the Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine, Glendale, Arizona