Ultradent: Revolutionizing the Dental Industry
Innovative products, from whitening to curing lights, are among DPS evaluators’ favorites
If there is an ideal example of a dental company inextricably linked to its influential leader, it’s Ultradent and founder Dr. Dan Fischer. Necessity was definitely the mother of invention nearly 4 decades ago when Dr. Fischer was a young practicing dentist. In his heavily restorative practice, he recognized the need for some way to achieve rapid and profound hemostasis. He developed a product that predictably controlled bleeding and sulcular fluid— Astringedent, which became the first Ultradent product.
“Ultradent, from the very beginning, began with innovation,” said Dr. Fischer. “Innovation is in our sinew…it’s in our DNA. And the secret sauce to our ongoing innovation is our people. They continually surprise me. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail; but there’s one thing I know— our R&D team always keeps going until they reach their goal. I have such faith in them.”
Dr. Fischer said the company strives to avoid mediocrity or being what he describes as a “me, too” company.
“We must bring improvements to the field of dentistry and raise the bar whenever we can,” he said. Ultradent’s innovation, however, does not happen in a vacuum.
“We also welcome product innovation and ideas by encouraging and listening to people from the outside, and we promote thinking out of the box in our chemistry, engineering, and design efforts. We love going places humans haven’t before, and after a few years of doing that, it becomes addicting and it becomes a part of your culture. It’s what you get out of bed for in the morning.”
Decades after he launched Ultradent, essentially from his basement, Dr. Fischer remains hands-on in the comprehensive R&D efforts of the Utah-based company. While Astringedent remains a flagship Ultradent product, it’s just one of thousands of operatory offerings from whitening systems and desensitizers to composites and adhesives.
Dental Product Shopper evaluators chose 6 of Ultradent’s products among their favorites in the Evaluators’ Choice survey. Here’s a closer look.
It’s self-limiting and that’s a good thing. With a 20-second exposure, Ultra-Etch 35% phosphoric acid etchant etches at an average depth of 1.9 micrometers, creating an etch pattern that adhesives can penetrate for maximum bond strength and reduced sensitivity. In spite of its viscous consistency, the capillary action of Ultra-Etch enables it to penetrate into small fissures and occlusal surfaces, and it maintains a layer thick enough to prevent premature drying. With either the Blue Micro or Inspiral Brush tips, you can place it precisely anywhere—even lingual approaches to Class IIIs—and rinse it clearly and cleanly, without leaving residue.
DPS evaluator Michael Teitelbaum, DMD, FAGD, who is president of Greater New York Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, said he considers Ultra-Etch the industry standard.
“It was developed by a dentist for us, and it shows,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “You put it on, it stays right there, and does its job. You rinse it off, it goes away…so simple, yet so perfect.”
Start with a solid bar of tempered, high-grade aerospace aluminum. Precision mill to a streamlined, ergonomic design. This is how Ultradent manufactures the VALO line of curing lights, with a unibody construction that imparts lightweight strength and exceptional heat dissipation. Then add machined components and a tempered glass lens for maximum durability. VALO’s slim wand allows optimal access to all areas of the mouth. Incidentally, VALO curing lights incorporate multiwavelength LEDs that deliver high-intensity light at 395 nm to 480 nm—compatible with all light-cured materials.
In addition to the original VALO, the family of broadband curing lights includes:
• VALO Grand features an extra-large 12 mm lens that easily covers a 10 mm molar for fast, effective curing. The power button on the underside allows for more intuitive operation.
• VALO Cordless is available in several contemporary colors and eliminates the risk of cable interference. It operates on 2 lithium iron phosphate batteries that are rechargeable.
• VALO Ortho delivers an optimally collimated beam for a complete, uniform cure directly over the labial face of brackets.
Strength and wear-resistance are the hallmarks of UltraSeal XT light-cured, radiopaque, fluoride-releasing composite sealant. UltraSeal XT is delivered via the Inspiral Brush tip that causes shear thinning of the filled, thixotropic sealant, reducing its viscosity as it is placed. The resin firms when shear thinning ceases and placement is complete, preventing it from running before it can be light-cured. UltraSeal XT comes in 2 low-shrinkage versions.
A 57%-filled resin, UltraSeal XT plus offers a high retention rate to effectively prevent microleakage. It comes in 4 shades: opaque white, clear, A1, and A2.
UltraSeal XT hydro features hydrophilic chemistry with a thixotropic nature that “chases” moisture deep into pits and fissures; then advanced adhesive technology securely bonds the sealant to the enamel. Exhibiting fluorescent properties, it comes in opaque white and natural.
Evaluator William Lieberman, DDS, of Red Bank, NJ, is among the many dentists who use the Ultradent sealant.
“As a pediatric dentist, an absolute priority is to have a sealant material that is dependable and able to demonstrate repeatable success,” Dr. Lieberman said. “We have not found any brand that can match the thixotropic qualities of UltraSeal. Coupled with the spiral brush tip, we get consistency and excellent long-term results.”
Dr. Fischer was personally involved in the development of Opalescence in 1990, when his then-14-year-old daughter was persistent in her request for whiter teeth. After much trial and error, Dr. Fischer and his research team came up with a formula that transformed his daughter’s tooth shade from A3 to A1 with a single overnight tray wearing. The rest is history.
Formulated for in-office power bleaching, Opalescence Boost 40% hydrogen peroxide gel is chemically activated, so no light is needed. The proprietary double-syringe delivery system activates the gel just prior to application, ensuring every application is fresh and effective. Patients achieve whitening after 40 minutes in the chair (two 20-minute applications). Opalescence Boost contains potassium nitrate to help reduce sensitivity, as well as fluoride to reduce caries and strengthen enamel.
Two Opalescence take-home systems also garnered evaluators’ praise.
Offered in 10%, 15%, 20%, and 35% carbamide formulations, Opalescence PF gel contains 20% water to prevent dehydration and shade relapse, and its sticky viscosity helps keep the gel and custom tray in place. The 4 concentrations—as well as 3 flavors—provide personalized treatment flexibility, with wear times from 30 minutes to overnight.
Eliminating the need for impressions, models, or lab time, Opalescence Go is delivered in prefilled, disposable trays. Designed to provide significant whitening in 15 minutes of daily wear, the UltraFit trays warm at body temperature, subsequently molding and adapting to any anatomy for a comfortable and custom-like fit; they offer molar-to-molar coverage for complete arch whitening. The carefully measured quantity of gel provides optimal results and can be easily brushed away after treatment. Opalescence Go is an effective introduction to whitening and an ideal follow-up to in-office bleaching.
Dana Blalock, DDS, a South Carolina based evaluator for DPS, has always been pleased with the whitening results her patients get from Opalescence.
“I get very few complaints about sensitivity after whitening, and my patients enjoy the ease of their use,” Dr. Blalock said. “The Opalescence Go trays are such a popular item in my office. More and more patients are desiring these over their custom trays with gel.”
Look for Ultradent to continue to not only innovate, but to grow. Progression, growth, improvement, change—these are the tenets upon which Ultradent was founded in 1978, Dr. Fischer said. “My greatest hope is that 20 years from now, they will continue to be the marking characteristics upon which this company hangs its hat.”
Always top of mind at Ultradent are its 5 core values:
“First and foremost is integrity,” said Dr. Fischer. “We believe that courage plus honesty brings human integrity.
“The second is care,” he continued. “In the healthcare profession, we must care.
“Third is quality, not just in the product, but for quality of life and happiness in the workplace. Humans are more productive in a happy workplace. They are more creative, and that’s a big deal. “Fourth is innovation. We’ve always been an innovative company. “Finally, our fifth core value is hard work.”