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October 1986, IECDT, New York City: Crowds of technicians attended Dr. Francois Duret’s lecture during which he demonstrated his chairside CAD/CAM system for the first time in the U.S. Based on micro-milling technology used to make titanium microchips for computers and missile parts, the system featured a laser scanner and milling machine that could fabricate crowns, inlays, onlays and up to three-unit bridges out of Dicor® material.
Touted as the system that “has the potential to change the way dentistry is done as we know it,” some attendees were concerned that chairside CAD/CAM would render laboratories obsolete and that an entire generation of technicians would lose their jobs.
On the flip side, other laboratory owners saw the potential of the technology and the positive changes that might occur as a result. For instance, the late Al Sabella, MDT, Sabella Dental Studios, Hartdale, NY, said, “In the future, dental technicians will have to become familiar with engineering principles and computer readouts. This kind of technology won’t eliminate the end product, just our means of getting to it. When you measure what used to be available to us as consumers against what’s now available—such as VCRs, compact discs, the Concorde, etc.—it’s obvious that this scanner is an example of what our future looks like.”
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