Articles Industry News

What's new with labs, manufacturers and suppliers

  • May
  • A First-Timer's Look at the IDS

    It started with a 13-hour trip—including a stop in Munich—but it was worth it to realize my long-time dream of attending the IDS show in Cologne.

    Walking into the show, I felt like a little boy entering a carnival for the first time: there were eye-catching booths with glamorous lighting and “side shows” such as magicians. And yes, plenty of free beer at the various exhibit booths.

    It was exciting to see machines, materials and vendors that aren’t yet available in the U.S.; I felt like it was a preview of the future of the U.S. laboratory industry. One of...

    Step Bay, CDT
    May 19 at 5:23 pm

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  • Awesome Innovations at IDS 2015

    As part of our ongoing State of the Industry 2015 coverage, LMT Editors visited the world’s largest dental show to bring you the scoop on the latest product and process innovations worldwide—including digital dentures, laser milling and more—and what else is coming down the pike for the U.S. market.

    LMT Communications, Inc.
    May 19 at 4:21 am

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  • The Digital Era is Here to Stay

    Industry icon Jim Glidewell shares his perspective on the future of our industry, including restorative trends, the biggest challenges you’ll face and strategies to ensure your laboratory’s success.

    Read More 14 minute read

  • March
  • Amann Girrbach and CAP Form North American Partnership for Sales and Support

    CAP is now Amann Girrbach’s premier partner in North America, selling the complete line of AG equipment, material and tools, as well as enhancing training and customer support.

    Maribeth Marsico
    March 5 at 9:46 am

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  • January
  • DLOAC Meeting Highlights the Changing Role of the Technician

    The digital transition in labs is not just about fabrication processes; the operational side of the lab business is changing too. Speakers at the 2014 DLOAC Meeting look at the continuously evolving role of the technician. Also: new products announced at the show.

    Kelly Fessel Carr
    January 15 at 9:58 am

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  • Dr. Gordon Christensen at Argen Event: 'Dentists and Labs Need to Get Remarried'

    “In the U.S., dentists and labs tend to be divorced; they need to get remarried. We’re a team and we need to understand each other better,” said Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD, during his keynote address at the Argen Corp.’s Future of Digital Dentistry event in November.

    Kelly Fessel Carr
    January 6 at 2:56 am

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  • December 2014
  • exocad® America Acquires SensAble® Dental, Soon To Offer Partial Denture Design Software

    In September, exocad America acquired the dental assets of SensAble Dental and can now distribute and further develop SensAble’s software for designing metal and flexible partial denture frameworks.

    Kelly Fessel Carr
    December 2 at 12:25 pm

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  • November 2014
  • GC America Receives Prestigious Deming Prize

    GC America is the first dental company in the U.S. and only the fourth company in the country to receive the Deming Prize, the oldest and most widely recognized Total Quality Management award in the world.

    Kelly Fessel Carr
    November 24 at 10:12 am

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  • September 2014
  • To Hire or Not to Hire: Five Tips

    When it comes to hiring a new technician, should you wait until case volume exceeds your production capacity, or hire before you’re overwhelmed by case volume?

    Michael Hill
    September 30, 2014 in Barry D. the Lab Guy

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  • 3Shape Moves to New Facility, Continues Growth Track

    In addition to technical support, marketing personnel and a scanner repair area, 3Shape’s new east coast facility in Warren, NJ, features training rooms for technicians to test drive and learn about 3Shape scanners and dentists to get familiar with the TRIOS Digital Impression System.

    Kelly Fessel Carr
    September 9, 2014

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  • May 2014
  • Prevailing Market Conditions Entice the Private Sector

    Just in the past six months alone, there have been a number of laboratory acquisitions by private equity portfolio companies. While private equity is not new to our community, portfolio companies are poised to make the most of our changing industry.

    Kelly Fessel Carr
    May 27, 2014

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  • March 2014
  • Frameworks-Only Niche Keeps Lab in High Demand

    I've been traveling around the country this season and have visited a number of laboratories, manufacturers and educational institutions. As I was passing through the Pittsburgh area, I stopped to visit Nick Hayden at Partial Foundations Dental Lab. Watch for more stories in my Road Trip series throughout the 2014 issues of LMT. ~Judy Fishman

    Read More 2 minute read

  • The Metal-Free Tipping Point

    Since their introduction in the 1950s, PFM restorations have been the bread-and-butter of C&B and most full service laboratories. In fact, as recently as 2005, only 17% of C&B workloads were metal-free. However, with the proliferation of metal-free materials and technologies, we’re nearing the tipping point: 45% of C&B workloads are now comprised of metal-free restorations, according to LMT’s 2013 Porcelain Survey.


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  • The Medical Device Tax Quagmire

    In 2010, the NADL’s analysis of the new healthcare legislation revealed that a 2.3% excise tax would be applicable to the selling price of completed dental restorations beginning in 2013.

    Vague terminology in the legislation indicated that the 2.3% tax would be payable by the manufacturer, producer or importer but didn’t specifically define those terms. Given the FDA’s previous classification of dental laboratories as medical device manufacturers, the conclusion was that the tax would apply.

    The news generated a growing alarm over the next several months as laboratory owners sought...

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  • "Full Z" Goes Full Speed

    The full contour zirconia trend began in 2009, with the launch of Glidewell’s BruxZir® Solid Zirconia crowns and bridges, marketed as a “virtually unbreakable” option for bruxers and grinders. Other manufacturers began to follow suit and introduce their own solid zirconia options and “Full Z” has become the fastest growing restoration in laboratories across the country.

    The restorations allow laboratories to offer a lower-cost solution, and the labor-saving digital process ensures better fits and fewer remakes. There remains concern among some laboratory owners...

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  • First Two States Win Fight for Disclosure

    On the heels of widespread media attention about offshore crowns containing lead, two bills that required laboratories to spell out the origin and content of dental restorations passed in 2008: one in Florida and one in South Carolina. Although both bills only required the lab to provide the information to the dentist—and not for the dentist to pass the information onto the patient—supporters felt it was a step in the right direction because the information would be placed in the patient’s file and would provide a mechanism for traceability.

    Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota have also...

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  • Lead Scare Brings Lab Work into the Public Eye

    Foreign Dental Work Put to Test, an investigative report about lead found in restorations made in China was the talk of the industry when it aired in February 2008 on Ohio’s WBNS 10TV. The story covered an Ohio woman who had experienced pain and infection in her jaw after her dentist placed an ill-fitting, three-unit PFM bridge the previous year. After learning the bridge was made in China, she had the bridge removed and tested for hazardous materials, and lead (160ppm) was found in the restoration.

    In addition, the TV station ordered eight PFM crowns from four labs in China and also had...

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  • Rapid Prototyping on the Radar

    The buzz at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California’s CAD/CAM Symposium in November 2005: rapid prototyping technology. First developed in the 1980s and used in the automotive and aerospace industries, the technology had laboratory owners enthusiastic about what was called the “next generation of CAD/CAM.” Advocates said the additive technology would result in increased efficiency and less material waste.

    Those forecasts were spot on. The technology continues to revolutionize the way laboratories fabricate waxups and metal restorations. And, like CAD/CAM, it’s...

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  • IPS e.max: Unprecedented Market Penetration

    Thanks to its physical properties, esthetics and ease of use, Ivoclar Vivadent’s IPS e.max—the first lithium disilicate on the market—penetrated the marketplace with unprecedented speed. Introduced in 2005, an estimated 75 million IPS e.max restorations have been fabricated worldwide. Also a contributing factor to the product’s success: the company’s strong marketing efforts to create brand awareness among laboratories, dentists and patients alike.

    “We had success with IPS e.max right from the start,” said Charlie Fager, BS, CDT, Owner, Fager Dental Laboratory,...

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  • FDA "Discovers" Dental Laboratories

    Historically, the FDA—long involved in overseeing the manufacturers of dental laboratory materials—paid minimal attention to dental laboratories. In 2004, due to the dramatic rise in imports from overseas laboratories, that changed. Concerned that these restorations might not contain FDA-approved materials, the FDA started taking a closer look at foreign laboratories and consequently, the domestic operations that imported cases from them. Several laboratories reported random inspections and, later that year, the FDA invited the NADL to a meeting to discuss its concerns about public...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • The Blurring of the Lines

    Laboratories—most notably Glidewell Laboratories—have long dabbled in the manufacturer/supplier realm. But in the past 15 years, digital technology has been driving a role reversal as manufacturers/suppliers have begun stepping into the laboratory’s shoes.

    Nobel Biocare was the first in the late 90s; now, there are more than a dozen manufacturer/suppliers that offer design and milling services for their laboratory customers. While some laboratory owners are concerned their suppliers are becoming their competitors, others aren’t bothered by the trend if the manufacturers...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • Implants Become Ubiquitous

    In the early 1980s, industry forecasters predicted a boon in implant placement, a prediction that was premature for a market still in its infancy. Inadequate education, inconsistent techniques and unpredictable results contributed to resistance on the part of many dentists and laboratories.

    However, by the time we entered the new millennium, implant treatment became the first choice in tooth replacement thanks to technical advancements, long-term success rates, and the abundance of manufacturer-provided education.

    The advent of CAD/CAM and cone beam technology further impacted the precision of...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • Tick Tock 2000

    Computer systems across the globe were at risk of failing after midnight, December 31, 1999 thanks to the “Millennium Bug.” For decades prior to 2000, computer software had been designed with a two-digit year code—“98” for 1998, for example—and the fear was that when computers’ internal clocks changed to “00” the computers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the year 2000 and the year 1900.

    Like business owners everywhere, some laboratory owners were concerned by what the “mother of all computer glitches,” would...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • CAD/CAM (Finally) Enters the Market

    After years of speculation, CAD/CAM came to fruition in the dental laboratory in 1998 with the official U.S. launch of the Procera® AllCeram Crown, featuring an aluminum oxide coping milled at Nobel Biocare’s production facility in Sweden. The success of Procera—and the introduction of a dozen new in-lab milling systems in the early 2000s—fueled intense interest among laboratory owners and made CAD/CAM the hot topic for the unforeseeable future.

    The automated manufacturing process afforded an efficient, consistent method of production and also opened the door to using zirconia,...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • February 2014
  • Laser Welders Zap Soldering

    Already widely used in European dental laboratories as well as in other industries, it wasn’t until around 1994 that laser welding took root in the U.S. laboratory market when American Recovery, Dentaurum and Tanaka Dental all introduced laser welding units. A key benefit was the stronger connections; a 1991 study published in Quintessence found the connections to be 266% stronger than solder, 43% stronger than microplasma welds and 95% as strong as the original alloy.

    Because the laser focuses a beam that melts and welds a very small area of metal, laser welders also brought a higher level...

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  • The Internet Revolution

    In its infancy, laboratory owners didn’t immediately see the internet’s application to their business. However, in the past 15 years, the number of laboratories with internet access has tripled, with 88% of U.S. laboratories LMT surveyed now having online capability. The ability to transmit data over the internet is fueling the growth of milling centers and subcontracting businesses. Emailing questions, case considerations and photos with clients has become the norm. And the opportunity for far-reaching promotion has prompted more than 40% of laboratories to market their nother third...

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  • Captek: New PFM Option

    Invented by Dr. Itzhak Shoher and Aharon Whiteman, CDT, first-generation Captek™ was introduced to the international dental community in 1993. The unique capillary technology took the PFM world by storm because it produced a high noble metal coping right on the refractory die without casting. Dentists and technicians alike were taken by its resulting thin, gold-colored copings and ability to maximize soft tissue health; Captek remains an ideal option for patients with any type of predisposition to caries or perio concerns.

    In 2007, Captek Nano™—stronger and thinner than the original...

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  • Acrylic/Composite Teeth Gain on Porcelain

    For years, porcelain was the material of choice for denture teeth because of its ability to replicate the appearance of natural dentition. But as we entered the 1990s, acrylic denture teeth had replaced porcelain as the industry standard; in fact, the use of porcelain teeth had dropped 50% during the previous decade.

    Acrylic teeth offered several functional advantages: they were kinder to opposing dentition with less trauma to the bone and offered easier occlusal adjustment. However, earlier materials tended to craze and check and weren’t as esthetic as the tried-and-true porcelain. Over...

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  • Cross Contamination: Risk vs. Reality

    In 1987, an HIV-positive dentist in Florida was found to have transmitted the infection to six of his patients. This first-known case of clinical transmission of HIV and the uncertainty during the late 1980s about the exact models of HIV transmission led the ADA to issue recommended infection control procedures and later work with the Centers for Disease Control to develop infection control recommendations for dentistry.

    In 1991, OSHA released its Bloodborne Pathogen standard to limit employees’ exposure to potentially infectious materials that could result in the transmission of diseases...

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  • Ceramics: a Pressing Matter

    Although PFMs were still considered by many to be the esthetic standard for clinical longevity, pressable ceramics—starting with IPS Empress and Optimal Pressable Glass (OPC)—began to drive the metal-free dentistry movement in the late 1980s. The improved esthetics and biocompatibility—coupled with soaring precious metal prices—quickly made the pressable technique a successful and cost-effective way to fabricate metal-free restorations. Later, the technique was adapted to create press-to-metal and press-to-zirconia restorations.

    Visit on Monday for another LMT Memorable Moment.

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