The Progression of Success – CALCIVIS with Dr. Chris Longbottom

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  Posted by: Dental Design      26th October 2018

Dr. Chris Longbottom first came upon the idea of using a luminescent photoprotein in relation to caries as he was flicking through a book called ‘Glowing Genes’ in 2005. He learnt that an agent had been developed that would produce luminescence in the presence of free calcium ions – as these ions are released from activecaries lesions, he realised the potential application to aid caries diagnosis. Since that time, Dr. Longbottom has been part of a dedicated team of professionals who have advanced that concept, as well as the technology, to successfully launch the CALCIVIS® imaging system.

Here we describe the latter stages of that journey, but first Bruce Vernon, the Chief Technical Officer at CALCIVIS, explains how bio-technology was applied to the device. “With the application of a luminescent (light emitting) photoprotein, a very short, low-level flash of light is produced in the presence of free calcium ions. An integrated intraoral sensor detects the light and a live map of active demineralisation is displayed at the chair-side.”

The beta testing stage of the CALCIVIS imaging system was carried out at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Several dental professionals and practices were involved and Clinical Director, Ben Atkins described the imaging system as “innovative” before adding, “The CALCIVIS imaging system could be a valuable tool to enable the preventive management of caries and to help educate patients to take responsibility for their oral health.” Similarly, when Melonie Prebble, an experienced dental therapist and hygienist was asked to trial the device, she said: “As we are all aware, prevention is about early detection and the CALCIVIS imaging system is able to identify active demineralisation on a tooth surface with no clinical signs, which is very encouraging in my mission to intervene at the very earliest stage possible. Seeing a bioluminescence map of demineralisation earlier than would normally be possible can be a real wake up call, but also, it is an interesting and useful tool with which to clearly see and confirm my findings.”

Overall, beta tests revealed a high level of satisfaction from both dental professionals and patients and the field study report detailed:“Professionals’ positive reactions came from the ability to acquire clear images of various tooth surfaces and provide minimally invasive treatment recommendation. Improved diagnostic confidence for dental caries and erosive lesions was also noted, as was an enhanced relationship between patient and practitioner, a comfortable patient experience, as well as better patient education and motivation.” 

The beta study confirmed the clinical proof of concept and positive feedback received from both users and patients encouraged the CALCIVIS team to create its own UK commercial organisation. This enabled them to clearly communicate the benefits of the imaging system directly to the dental community. It was then shown at all the major dental and oral health conferences and subsequently, the CALCIVIS imaging system was launched onto the UK market in 2017. At that time Adam Christie, the CEO of CALCIVIS said: “The first commercial launch of the CALCIVIS imaging system is a transformational event for preventive dentistry. For the first-time, dentists will be able to see active tooth demineralisation as it is happening, enabling them to develop a preventive treatment programme that will benefit both dentists and their patients.”

A year on and Dr. Chris Longbottom remains a consultant and scientific advisor within the CALCIVIS team. When he was asked recently to give his views on the product that has evolved from his research, he said: “The CALCIVIS imaging system has been developed superbly and is precisely what we need to stimulate patients and clinicians. The images that can be created are exactly as I had originally hoped and the feedback that we have received from patients and practitioners is excellent. This validates everything that we have been working for years to achieve and I feel a mixture of pride, elation and excitement.”

The CALCIVIS imaging system is the first bio-tech dental product in the world and as Dr. Longbottom continued: “This technology provides a system that assists clinicians with caries diagnostic assessments at the very earliest stages of disease and aids communication substantially. Patients can relate to the images, which arouses all kinds of positives. It increases their awareness of their own oral health, helps them to understand the disease process and motivates them in terms of prevention.”

As it continues to lead the way by enabling preventive dentistry through technology, CALCIVIS is currently running its first ever in-practice evaluation study. This will enable the team to assess the imaging system in the clinical setting on a larger scale and collect data from practitioners and patients up and down the UK.

The CALCIVIS imaging system is most definitely a ‘first for dentistry’ making it possible for practitioners to visualise that which was previously invisible! If you would like to discover more, make contact with CALCIVIS today.


To find out more about CALCIVIS visit

or call 0131 658 5152


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