Rubber dams, meet silicone simplicity! Awkward assistants, take your cheek retraction and spit-sucking attempts elsewhere. You have both been banned from the operatories where isolation mouthpieces rule supreme.
First brought to market in 2005, Isolite™ Systems originated the idea of combining dryfield illumination and isolation in a patented product called the Isolite, which costs about $1700 per operatory to set up. Whoa, steeeeep. The tubing and LED Smart Stick sure isn’t their loss leader, now, is it? Then you still have to buy a $2.50 mouthpiece for each patient because they’re not sterilizable. All of it together is still easier and less expensive than your assistant.
But what if you want to keep your assistant, even though she kicks you under the chair all those times you say something stupid to a patient or start getting all OCD over a procedure? You’ve already ditched your overhead lamp for loupe-mounted headlights, so maybe you don’t even need the Lite part of the Isolite.
About a year ago, Isolite™ Systems indroduced a non-illuminating version called the IsoDry that runs a little less than half the cost of the original product. Both systems come with extra tubing. Tooobing. Makes me want to laze down the Guadalupe River with a six-pack in a styrofoam cooler. Don’t we have enough tubes and hoses to twist around each other already?
This brings us to the essence, the soul, the very magic of what makes the Isolite System the game-changer that it has become. It’s all about the mouthpiece. This transparent, comfortable, easy-to-insert soft piece of silicone not only attaches to high-speed suction to create a dry field, it replaces bite blocks, throat packs, cotton rolls, drying angles, and everything else that you used to cram in your patient’s mouth to create a perfect restorative environment.
But in order to use the mouthpiece, the rule is, you have to buy an Isolite or an Isodry. You can’t just stick it onto your high-speed suction and use it solo.
Or can you?
Mark Frias, RDH, can hook you up to go commando. Literally. He’s invented a hook-up mod for the Isolite mouthpieces that must have been driven by the frustration of trying to keep a squirmy six year old’s teeth dry for sealants with traditional isolation. You can see the differences between his design and the original Isolite on the left. It’s not sleek and sexy, but from a cost perspective this little adapter is a no-brainer. Mark calls it the Kona Adapter. Why? Is he an Ironman Triathlete from Hawaii? Actually, I think he named it after his dog.
Whatever the case, the ingenuity here is striking at a great moment. Mark is having difficulty keeping Kona Adapters in stock if that’s any indication of its demand.
For those who are concerned about taking business away from Isolite, Mark suggests purchasing a single system for one of your operatories and fitting the rest with Kona Adapters. This will give you the privilege of being an official Isolite customer so that you can be assured that you aren’t buying mouthpieces on the down low.
And everyone really wins here. Isolite could give the system away like Gillette gave away razor handles to sell you the blades for the rest of your life, or use the printer model: sell the hardware cheaply to lock you into high-priced ink refills. It’s not like Isolite Systems is exactly losing money on the mouthpieces. With this new adapter, Isolite can now make money from the dental practices that may have not been able to justify a whole-office use of their product.
So slippery-gripped assistants everywhere: Ding! You are now free to move about the office. Your hands have finally been relieved without a significant lightening of your employers’ bank accounts.