April 23, 2008, Updated September 13, 2012

Itzik Henig: “Minimal invasive surgery is our future.””Exciting” and “dentistry,” are not normally two words that go together, but an Israeli company Sialo Technology may change the way a trip to the dentist is perceived.

Take for example, salivary duct stones. It is an unusual condition afflicting young and old. No one really knows why the condition occurs, but the effects are real, painful and can lead to other harmful diseases such as lupus.

The stones – a build-up of calcium and other minerals – block the flow of saliva to the mouth, with the pain especially acute moments before a mouth-watering meal. The only cure for the condition is to remove the salivary gland, an operation that leads to facial scarring, Itzik Henig, the CEO of Sialo Technology, tells ISRAEL21c.

The eight-person company, operating since 1994 and trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, has developed a new device, called the Salivascope, which can blast away salivary duct stones, while leaving the gland intact. The device, slated for FDA approval and distribution in the US this June, can remove the stone in about 20 to 30 minutes.

One happy customer is Mark Owen, a top analyst on Wall Street who had a salivary duct stone removed by Sialo; experts at Harvard University are familiar with Sialo’s technology and research first developed by Prof. Oded Nahlieli, a professor at Hebrew University.

Sialo sees the introduction of this new device to the US market as a stepping-stone for a range of exciting dentistry solutions – exciting for both the dentist and patient.

Salivary duct stone are a “niche market,” admits Henig, an electrical technician, who first heard about the condition when his niece developed a stone in her mouth years ago.

The company believes its most exciting development – one which could affect any and all of us with our own original set of teeth – is a tiny endoscope set to make root canal misery a thing of the past. With further applications for detecting throat and mouth cancer, Sialo’s “Dentoptik” could be in your dentist’s office within a year.

“We make everything smaller,” Henig tells ISRAEL21c. “We take the big drill and make it into micro drill.” The device, comprising a miniature endoscope, and special monitoring tools, will cost about $15,000 and about $100 per patient for use, he says.

The regular root canal procedure is very aggressive, says Henig, while the Dentoptik, much less so because via the endoscope, the dentist has a complete view of the tooth at all times.

While not proven yet, the device not only makes the procedure less painful, it can also help spare the crown.

“With our micro technology, the dream is now a reality,” says Henig. “Minimal invasive surgery is our future, replacing old fashioned surgical procedures. We now offer less aggressive treatment, complete control, 100% vision screening of root procedure with fast recovery.

“The sky is the limit with our micro endoscope procedures, leading us to other areas: teeth implantations and periodontal treatment.”

With all these new technologies, who says a trip to the dentist’s office can’t be fun?


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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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