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08.07.2016

Catching up with caries quicker

The growing significance of fluorescence technology cameras. A picture says more than a thousand words. Modern fluorescence technology cameras can take pictures that reveal the presence and progression of an infection. The VistaCam iX HD intraoral camera from Dürr Dental provides a highly-developed tool for early detection of carious infection. However, "inner beauty" is no longer the only criterion by which dental technology is judged today – a good appearance and functional design are also becoming increasingly important. Experts have now confirmed that this high-end product does indeed meet all of these requirements. On 26 February 2016, the camera, which was presented at IDS 2015, received the coveted IF Design Award.

Industry meets design

Service provider IF, which regards itself as a bridge between design and industry, has dedicated itself to the organisation of independent design competitions since 1954. It now enjoys an internationally leading role in this field. The award was made in front of 2,000 guests at a ceremony at BMW World. The successful entrant had beaten over 5,300 competitors.

The prize for product design was awarded on the basis of design quality; quality of finish, choice of materials, the level of innovation, environmental compatibility, functionality, ergonomics, visualization of usage, safety, brand value, branding, and universal design. Dürr Dental was not the only big-name prize winner from Southern Germany – Kärcher, Bosch and Siemens also numbered amongst the recipients. In his address, chairman Fritz Frenkler called for greater individuality in design: "Design is an effective means to gain a competitive advantage and ensure product success". The developers of » VistaCam iX HD followed this trend not only in terms of the high-quality exterior finish, but also in its benefits for diagnostic applications.

Early warning under difficult conditions

The thought behind the award-winning intraoral camera was to develop technology that would enable dentists to locate the presence of carious bacteria in obscured areas even at an early stage. This addresses a key dental dilemma – catching caries early whilst preventing unnecessary over-treatment of healthy areas. This was previously achieved by regular inspections using touch, sensors and X-ray diagnosis.

The development of fluorescence technology has added another instrument to the arsenal of caries diagnosis – for example in the diagnosis of the tooth chewing surface. This is important, as X-rays are only of limited importance in the early identification of occlusal caries – once caries is visible in an X-ray, it is usually easy enough to spot by naked eye as well. This is where fluorescence proves its worth, enabling early-stage diagnosis. Working on the principle that carious bacteria emit individually measureable red light when illuminated with light of a specific wavelength, it is very easy to determine the depth and extent of carious lesions in the occlusal and sliding surface of the tooth. Fluorescence technology is also able to look under the tooth enamel to find "hidden caries". In addition to the excellent diagnostic capabilities, this also enables the dentist to also check whether any reworking is required during removal of the affected tooth substance. This reduces the risk of caries returning on the edge of a filling.

Brilliant minds in the service of dental medicine

Modern camera technology is capable of detecting the bio-chemical procedures that are triggered by carious bacteria. Our development engineers have equipped the VistaCam iX HD with a range of interchangeable heads for different specific functions.

The » VistaSoft software analyses the recordings of the Proof interchangeable head in "live mode" in order to pinpoint caries lesions. The presence of caries can be depicted both in colour and numerically. The software depicts the activity of carious bacteria in red, whilst the healthy tooth enamel is shown as green. This gives the therapist a visual aid that helps with the patient consultation. The Proxi interchangeable head extends the diagnosis methods of approximal caries without the use of X-rays, as tooth enamel to appear transparent in infrared light. The change induced by caries stands out as a light cloud on the transparent surface. This technology closes a gap in the market, giving dentists the ability to diagnose caries without subjecting their patient to X-rays. This is especially useful for pregnant mothers and children. The Cam interchangeable head auto focus enables a wide range of HD resolution exposures from macro and normal intraoral to extraoral images. Here again, the fusion of design and function comes into play. The Usability Engineers at Dürr Dental developed the camera so that it would specifically also meet the ergonomic requirements of the operator. The handpiece narrows towards the head, facilitating access to the rear molars with its reduced size.

One thing is clear: the significance of fluorescent technology for caries diagnosis will only increase in future, not least thanks to the potential of the corresponding cameras as a consultation instrument. Much better informed, today's patients often query diagnoses and ask for alternative treatments. The digital documentation of therapies also helps teaching and training.

Published by: ml/rf
Catching up with caries quicker

Frank Kiesele, head of product management in imaging systems, accepted the prize on behalf of Dürr Dental.