The ideal choice for natural-looking restorations
The award-winning cosmetic and restorative dentist Dr Rhodri Thomas talks about the reasons why he likes to use the versatile IPS Empress Direct material: These include its natural-looking esthetics in the recreation of tooth structure and its easy handling in conjunction with the OptraSculpt contouring instruments and pads.
I am a cosmetic and restorative dentist. In my work, I often use state-of-the-resin composites to place direct restorations. I have tried most of the composite resins presently available on the market. In addition, I am always prepared to try out new and promising products for recreating tooth structure. Because I routinely use the IPS e.max ceramic system (Ivoclar Vivadent), I was eager to try the IPS Empress Direct restorative material: that was at the beginning of 2016.
I was immediately impressed with how easy IPS Empress Direct is to handle. I also liked the intuitive aspect of the product and the fundamental idea behind the system: dentin material replaces dentin tooth structure and enamel material replaces enamel tooth structure. As a result, during the shade selection process I often blend a selection of different dentin shades from the IPS Empress Direct system to the requirement of my patient. I call this my 'shade blur technique', for me it is easy and efficient. I was particularly taken with the Trans Opal shade for recreating the natural characteristics of anterior teeth and the flowable opal option for use within incisal edges. Moreover, the much-feted polishability, which was highlighted in the scientific reviews, has lived up to my expectations right from the beginning.
Natural esthetics and intuitive layering
In my opinion, IPS Empress Direct really delivers in terms of the selection of shade and translucency. This aspect is incredibly important for a highly esthetic restorative material, given that nature produces an astonishingly wide variation of appearance in teeth. With the right combination and layering of IPS Empress Direct shades, I can create almost any effect found in nature.
IPS Empress Direct has also proved to be much easier to layer than the majority of other highly esthetic composite resins available today. With my own method, which I have developed over time, I find the dentin shades provide a very accurate basis from which to work. The enamel shades help to change the value as opposed to the hue and chroma. Therefore, the material allows me to find a good match to the natural shades of the teeth – for both dentin and enamel. The flowable opal option for use within the incisal edges is one of the best composite materials that I have come across for building up the teeth in the esthetic zone. The opalescent effect is very common in the incisal part of natural teeth. The flowable IPS Empress Direct Trans Opal is ideally suited for imitating this phenomenon. It is extremely difficult to recreate this opalescent effect with the tints of other composite resin systems.
Easy handling with OptraSculpt contouring instruments and pads
The OptraSculpt contouring instruments additionally facilitate the work of dentists. That is why I always use them when I place composite resin restorations in anterior and posterior teeth. The instruments are lightweight and easy to use. The system is straightforward, with many size options and different add-on attachments to adapt to the task at hand. The material does not stick and this means I can work more efficiently. It offers excellent adaption. I can push the composite firmly against the tooth without it coming back with the instrument. As a result, the material is smoothly integrated into the tooth structure.
I often use the OptraSculpt instruments throughout the composite treatment. I find that the pad really comes into its own when I place the final layer of composite: It allows me to adapt the material wherever I want it to go. An added valuable benefit of the pads is that they do not need to be cleaned during the procedure. Instruments with wide flat plastic surfaces, in contrast, need to be wiped with alcohol in-between uses. The pad offers an uncomplicated, low-maintenance way of applying the final layer on the tooth.
The natural choice
In my experience, I have found that IPS Empress Direct is amongst the very top composites with regard to polishability and its ability to maintain its lustre over time. This means that I can offer my patients highly esthetic, long-lasting smiles. The material’s reduced light sensitivity gives the clinician ample time to manipulate the composite. This is always a help in accomplishing intricate restorative work (Class IV and posterior restorations). IPS Empress Direct and OptraSculpt used together deliver excellent esthetic results. The easy handling and polishability of the material alongside the smooth surfaces achieved with the OptraSculpt Pad ensure optimum light curing. This then has the knock-on effect of speeding up the finishing and polishing stages.
I like to use IPS Empress Direct for all my composite work. I am a true fan of Ivoclar Vivadent’s range of products, which have all been developed to work together. When it comes to building up and imitating natural tooth structure, I can honestly say that IPS Empress Direct is an outstanding choice. The material does so much more than deliver highly esthetic results: It recreates nature. Therefore, for me it is the natural choice of restorative composite for all indications.