More and more we’re all doing adhesive composite restorations. And, we know that any sort of moisture contamination spells disaster. So, between you and your assistant, you’ve got only four arms and hands to prep and restore teeth while simultaneously retracting both the tongue and cheek, and trying to keep the field clear. All the while you’re eyeballing that saliva-tsunami threatening to swamp your good work. So, you’re yelling (not really yelling) at your assistant who you wish had four arms of her own. “Suuuuuctiooooooooonnnn!”
OK, we all know about rubber dam(n). So why aren’t we all using them? Is it because we don’t know any better? No, of course not. Is it because they don’t work? Of course, they do. But, they are tedious. Ultimately, most dentists are simply not going to use them routinely or consistently.
There is an answer that, in some ways, is even better than rubber dam. It’s called the Isolite. It took me a while to catch on to this amazing device, even though I heard a lot about it on Dentaltown. But, I finally decided to try it and bought one. I very quickly bought another.
What is the Isolite? It’s a device that hooks up to your high-speed suction. It has a disposable silicone attachment that combines a bite-block with a cheek and tongue retractor. The Isolite provides suction, retraction, a bite-block, and has a built-in LED light (adjustable for five-levels of brightness, including a setting that won’t polymerize your composites).
The suction works so well, your assistant will not really need to use her suction to keep the field clear. Her hands will be freed up to keep your mirror clear and hand you instruments.
But, here’s the kicker that I didn’t anticipate. In a nutshell, the Isolite cuts my operative time by about 1/3! No kidding. And, here’s why: In the traditional dentist-assistant work flow, it’s often stop-and-go. You prep a little. Assistant clears the field with air/water syringe and suction. You prep a little more. Rinse and repeat. Stop-and-go.
Prepping with the Isolite is LINEAR. You don’t stop because the field is CONTINUOUSLY cleared by the integrated suction. You can always see what you’re doing. That’s not true with a rubber dam, which doesn’t have suction built into it. Next thing you know…. you’re done prepping! This was a surprise benefit.
Likewise with the restorative phase of a typical operative appointment, it just goes so smoothly. No fear of the saliva-tsunami. No “yelling” at your assistant to catch that saliva before it swamps your pristinely hybridized prep. You can RELAX. If you’re doing multiple restorations, you can “assembly-line” the etch, then the bonding, then the increments of composite. All of this… in a very relaxed environment.
The first time I used it, when we were done, my assistant and I looked at each other in amazement. We both noticed that things went MUCH more quickly. So, we started paying attention to the time, and consistently our “time in mouth” was reduced by about a third. That’s significant, folks! Besides assuring quality results, you’re saving a lot of time. And, you know what they say about time. It’s money!
A majority of my patients have responded very favorably to the Isolite. “I like that thing!” It keeps the amalgam crud (that you’re removing) from going down the patient’s throat. It keeps the patient from “drowning.” It holds the patient’s mouth open, so they don’t get tired. It’s a win-win all the way around.
As I’ve said before, I love things that don’t require a bank loan to get into AND give me an immediate return on investment. The Isolite falls squarely into this category. A complete Isolite system for one operatory is priced at $1695. The disposable mouthpieces work out to $2.50 each. Isolite Systems also offers an automatic shipment program that can reduce your disposables costs.
Isolite Systems also offers the Isodry. It’s the same thing but without the built-in light. The cost is significantly less at $795. I work with magnification and a headlight. So, theoretically, I don’t “need” the built-in light. But, I’m still glad I got the lighted version and recommend it. It lights up the whole mouth, and there are times I look away (headlight aimed somewhere else), but my assistant benefits by being able to see the mouth lit up like a sports arena.
The ROI from the Isolite system is realized in two ways. The first is in time-savings. You can get more done in less time. That’s an easy financial equation to work out. The second is being able to perform adhesive dentistry in a very relaxed state. This is HUGE when you experience it. The Isolite is that four-armed assistant you always dreamed about!
Added July 8, 2012: Some dentists have asked me how I introduce the Isolite to patients in order to make it a positive experience. I always emphasize the patient’s BENEFITS:
OK, Ralph…. we’re going to do things a bit differently today. I’ve got a new technology that will make your treatment more comfortable AND we’ll be done more QUICKLY.
What this gadget does is help you keep your mouth open without your jaw getting tired. It also keeps all the yucky stuff from going down your throat. And, it holds your tongue and cheeks out of the way, so you won’t have to worry about that, either.
As you can see, this disposable medical silicone mouthpiece is very flexible. What it does is cradle and surround the tooth I’m working on (I fold the mouthpiece around my extended index finger) and it lights your mouth up like a hockey arena (I hit the button turning the light on).
Now… it will feel a little awkward when I first put it in. But, once it’s in place, I think you’ll find it VERY comfortable and comfortING.
OK… here we go!
The Dental Warrior salutes the Isolite! Here’s a video of the Isolite in use: