Tools of the trade: IPS Empress Direct

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 nano-hybrid composite material

by Dr Alice Whang, Harris Dental Boutique, Bargara, QLD

This composite is a nano-hybrid, which means the molecules within the composite are small, so it polishes well. It comes in enamel and dentine shades, and a great selection of shades for aesthetic cases.

What’s good about it?

I exclusively use IPS Empress Direct for composite veneers. It’s a beautiful material. Once the restorations are contoured and polished following the full protocol, they look almost like ceramics. They’re shiny and glossy but still very lifelike.

As well as offering superior aesthetics, it’s also strong and durable. The flexural strength is high enough to be used for a posterior restoration. Knowing that I’m using material strong enough for veneers on the back teeth gives me peace of mind.

I like the translucency and opalescence. These make veneers look like teeth. The dentine shades are not truly opaque, which is great for when you want to mask discolouration while keeping the natural translucent look. I routinely use a combination of dentine and enamel shades to achieve the best aesthetic outcome. 

What’s not so good

IPS Empress Direct composite, especially when dispensed from a syringe, is sticky and difficult to handle. When the composite sticks to the instrument, the material lifts from the restoration surface, creating micro gaps. I prefer to use the compules that provide just enough material to restore each tooth. 

When the composite is heated for too long at very high temperature, the material becomes crumbly and difficult to handle. Empress Direct works well when it’s heated just right. The sweet spot is 60 degrees Celsius, and not longer than 20 minutes. 

Where did you get it

Ivoclar

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