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The ADA Professional Product Review, under the direction of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, strives to provide readers with the most credible and useful product evaluation information—free from real or perceived conflicts of interest. Open communication between the ADA Laboratories and manufacturers is vital to providing our 155,000-plus readers—your customers—with objective, balanced and accurate product evaluation reports.

How do we choose what to evaluate? Manufacturers send us updates about new products and occasionally inquire about submitting a product for evaluation. But, it’s ADA member dentists, through Web-based surveys, who tell us what product categories and specific products they would like evaluated. In a 2008 reader survey, nearly 1300 dentists responded and more than half said they look to the Review when making purchasing decisions for their offices.

The ADA Laboratories purchases most products it evaluates except for high-cost, durable equipment, such as hand pieces and intraoral cameras, which typically are on loan and then returned after testing.

After selecting the products, we ask manufacturers for the following (where appropriate):  

  • Accurate company contact information – name, Web site, phone 
  • Names of current products, technical attributes, cost and warranty 
  • High-resolution product photos or illustrations 
  • Technical information, such as directions-for-use, bibliographies, etc. 
  • Training, demonstrations and product photographs 
  • Feedback on proposed test protocols and methods  

This helps us determine/develop suitable test protocols and provides readers with an accurate understanding of a product’s features.  

We send manufacturers their product’s test data and dentists’ feedback from online surveys. In some cases, we may provide all product test data for comparison but without any company-specific identifiers except for the manufacturer’s product.

2009 Reader Survey

In the 2009 Reader Survey, dentists suggested the following product categories for future evaluation. (Note: A date next to the category indicates when it was last evaluated.)

List of Professional Product Categories
 Adhesives  Curing lights (LED) (10/06)  Loupes
 Anesthetics  Desensitizing agents (10/07)  Nightguards/NTI
 Apex locators  Digital Impression materials (powderless)  Occlusal splints for TMD
 Artificial saliva  Digital radiography (7/06)  Oral cancer screening devices
 Bonding agents (1/07)  Files (rotary endo) (10/06)  Post materials
 Caries detection devices (7/08)  Fluoride rinses, gels and varnishes  Restoration polishing systems
 Cements (resin) (10/06)  Gingival retraction  Temporary bridge materials
 Cements (temporary)  Implants (mini)  Temporary crown materials
Composites Implants (other) Ultrasonic scalers
Composites (posterior) (7/06) Lasers Veneer materials

The ADA and manufacturers generally cover travel and related expenses for their own staff alone. The ADA also retains sole discretion over whether to publish any feedback a manufacturer submits. The Review refrains from discussing incomplete or interim test results. There may be exceptions, such as:  

  • To clarify directions for use or procedures; 
  • To replace a faulty or damaged product; 
  • To resolve a problem with test methods that affects most or all product test results in a given category; 
  • To discuss questionable test results when there is reason to doubt the accuracy of product test results.  

The content in each issue is based on data that’s collected, reviewed and analyzed by ADA scientists, the ADA Survey Center and consultants to the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. To that end, the Review does not suggest or accept financial support or compensation from a manufacturer whose products are or may be under review. The publication does not state or imply that cooperation with requests for information or assistance is a condition for obtaining consideration from the ADA or any of its subsidiaries in connection with any other program or activity.  

Producing each issue of The Review involves several moving parts. The process includes extensive planning; collecting technical and clinical data; testing and evaluating, and, finally, reviewing, designing and publishing.  

Visit Us

Although manufacturers may not participate in or view ADA testing, we invite you to tour the ADA Laboratories to meet our scientists and researchers the next time you visit Chicago.  

Reprints of any issue are available for a nominal fee. For more information, call 312-440-2729. 

We welcome questions, comments and suggestions from manufacturers. Contact us at ppreditor@ada.org or call 312-440-2840.