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The product developers at PD put themselves in the dentist’s shoes with one specific question in mind: What do they really need and how can they achieve it with EssenSeal? (Image: PD)

EssenSeal: R & D path to a new product

By PD (Produits Dentaires SA)
April 17, 2020

The development of a new product requires drive, curiosity and the ability to be open-minded in order to dig deeper and to pursue the information necessary to bring the product to life. The process can take several years, depending on its complexity, and the flexibility and responsiveness of the team involved make all the difference—like in the case of EssenSeal, a new-generation zinc oxide eugenol sealer featuring tea-tree essential oil launched by Produits Dentaires (PD) in 2019. In this interview, David Brendlen, the biomaterials engineer in charge of the R & D team, and Baptiste Reuse, R & D project manager at Produits Dentaires, explain the research, development and production process they followed for EssenSeal.

Mr Brendlen and Mr Reuse, how did the idea for EssenSeal come about?
Brendlen: The initial idea was to provide dental professionals with a cement which strictly meets the requirements of the ISO 6876 standard. This standard specifies requirements and test methods for endodontic sealing materials used for permanent obturation of the root canal. We focused on testing the physico-chemical properties of liquid and solid components and the synergy between them. The objective was to enhance the potential of eugenol by testing its interaction with different essential oils, whose properties could further enhance our new sealer. As a result, we developed a product with ideal consistency and a smooth texture, contributing to a controlled setting time, without surprises, and validated long-term efficiency.

How long does it take to develop a new product? What is the development process?
Brendlen: It takes several years to develop a new product, depending on its complexity. We start the process by putting ourselves in the user’s shoes. We need to understand the dentist who will be using our product and take into consideration the data and clinical research as well as actual needs of the user. The next step is to forget what we know exists and start fresh. It’s a blank page which will be filled with new drafts and concepts aimed at facilitating the clinical procedure.

“Simplicity was both our objective and our challenge”—Baptiste Reuse

What was the biggest challenge when developing EssenSeal?
Reuse: One of the biggest challenges was remastering the properties of zinc oxide eugenol, one of the most popular materials used in dentistry, without adding unnecessary complexity to the product. Simplicity was both our objective and our challenge. EssenSeal contains no extraneous components. Every element has been studied, tested and verified. We controlled the particle size and tested the properties of various essential oils before eventually opting for tea-tree essential oil. By employing the full potential of each component of EssenSeal in synergy with the other components, we achieved our goal: to offer dentists a simple, effective and efficient sealer with safe and predictable sealing properties over the long term.

Did you discover any unexpected properties of EssenSeal while developing it?
Reuse: Yes. EssenSeal’s formula was gradually refined through extensive testing and all the ingredients were carefully chosen for their properties. However, what surprised us was the strong synergy between the components, such as the combination of the powder’s smoothness and tea-tree essential oil’s properties, which allows the cement to flow and penetrate the canal anatomy in a very thin layer, of less than 10 µm. This is five times finer than the gold standard for zinc oxide eugenol known so far. It greatly improved the final sealing properties, as even root canal crevices and complex anatomies can now be reached. Combined with the interaction of the different essential oils and their properties, this 3D sealing limits the development of residual bacteria and prevents the risk of infection.

EssenSeal is a new generation zinc oxide eugenol sealer featuring tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca) and composed of a powder base and a liquid catalyst. (Image: PD)

What makes EssenSeal so special?
Reuse: The majority of the eugenol-based sealers available on the market were developed many years ago, but users’ needs evolved in the meantime. That is why we turned to dental professionals and sought their insights when developing EssenSeal. The feedback we received helped us understand their needs and expectations. One of the remarks received most often concerned the consistency of the existing sealers, as well as their smell. This is why EssenSeal is the only sealer available on the market which combines a pleasant, refreshing scent with smoothness and whiteness of the powder when mixed with optimal consistency. On top of that, its mixing ratio is as simple as one drop of liquid to one spoon of powder, which greatly improves the user experience.

EssenSeal meets the requirements of the ISO 6876 standard, making it an ideal cement for ensuring safe long-term sealing. What makes EssenSeal so special is that it exploits the properties of essential oils, not only eugenol. This synergy has a significant impact on the quality of the treatment and helps the product meet the clinical expectations associated with endodontic treatment.

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