Market Update: Digital Technology
LMT attends the DLOAC CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium to bring you
the latest developments in digital dentistry
Celebrating its 10th year, the Dental Laboratory Owners’ Association of California’s (DLOAC) CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium—held in November in Garden Grove, CA—showcased the latest digital products, services and trends. The theme? Automation continues to streamline, simplify and improve laboratory processes and manufacturers are working overtime to offer new material choices, easier-to-use software, more affordable hardware and innovative services. Here’s a peek at what’s new and what’s next:
The Materials Market
Monolithic materials continue to flourish, driving the growth of the all-ceramic market. For instance, DLMS launched its new monolithic material: Crystal® Ultra, a ceramic hybrid that was FDA approved in September. The 70% ceramic material is translucent, strong and it flexes, making it ideal for implant cases—including implant-supported crowns and bridges and full-arch implant dentures—as well as anterior crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers.
Zubler offered a preview of its new pressable lithium disilicate, ConceptPress, for which it’s currently seeking FDA approval. The material comes in multiple ingot sizes, including a small 2-g ingot for less material waste, and in three levels of opacity and varying colors and translucencies.
PMMA is growing in popularity for fabricating long-term temporaries and manufacturers are providing more esthetic options. For example, Primotec highlighted its new PREMIOtemp multi-layer discs that combine five layers of color in one disc—gradually shaded from body to incisal—and come in a variety of VITA shades. Later this year, Argen is also coming out with multi-layered PMMA discs, as well as monochromatic discs in all 16 VITA shades and one bleach shade.
Materials for printed models are also being improved. EnvisionTEC introduced E-Denstone, a durable, easy-to-trim photopolymer similar to gypsum that offers high anatomical detail. The material is used with the company’s 3Dent 3D printer that can build 100 models per day.
Several software manufacturers announced system enhancements that make scanning, design and fabrication easier for users. Delcam’s new DentMILL 2014 CAM software offers a clearer, more user-friendly interface that integrates all restoration machining into a single environment; automatic prep-line creation; improved nesting for more efficient use of materials; and faster calculation times.
3Shape previewed the new version of its software that launches this month; among its highlights: the ability to design larger, more complex restorations; automatic positioning and shaping of full anatomical crowns; Implant Studio™ for implant planning and surgical guides; a Splint Designer™ module for designing splints, nightguards and other orthodontic appliances; and a more optimized workflow for TRIOS digital impressions.
Exocad, which sells its modular CAD software through resellers, announced that its software now comes with a Windows 8 user interface, and two new third-party scanners are available with exocad:
The Freedom white-light scanner, sold by Degree of Freedom in Korea, allows all-in-one scanning of the upper, lower and die for fast full contour crown and bridge.
The Renishaw DS-20 contact scanner generates precise implant positions for bar models; exoscan software then matches the implant positions with any optical scan to create fast, precise scanning solutions for either standard or hybrid bars.
In January 2013, Dental Wings acquired coDiagnostiX in Germany from Straumann and has integrated coDiagnostiX 9.0, the digital implant planning software, into its DWOS software platform. CodiagnostiX 9.0 received FDA approval in July. The laboratory software version, coDiagnostiX Producer, allows labs to plan implant cases with the dentist, integrate DICOM data and produce surgical drill guides on 3D printers for under $100 each. The software costs $6,700 and is available from two U.S. distributors: Implant Solutions and 3D Diagnostics.
More Hardware Options
Smaller milling systems continue to hit the market, giving users a compact, affordable milling option that fits on a benchtop, like Roland’s new $17,995 DWX-4, a desktop mill for single crowns and small bridges.
Manufacturers also continue to offer mills with better implant indications. For instance, Digital Dental Lab’s Dental Mill 4 and 5 units can now mill custom abutments. DATRON’s new 5-axis D5 LS (Linear Scales) is equipped with high-precision linear scales that yield an accuracy of +/- 5 microns and additional thermal stability, making it ideal for screw-retained indications such as titanium implant bars and individual abutments.
On the scanner side, more players are getting into the market. Aurident is now distributing the Optimet-DS 6000, a laser scanner that uses proprietary scanning software, integrated with exocad’s CAD software, to produce .stl files for single units up to 14-unit bridges.
Until intraoral impression systems become more widely used, traditional impressions are here to stay. Dental Wings’ interim solution is an impression scanner for the dental office. The easy-to-use iSeries impression scanner allows anyone on the dental team to scan traditional VPS impressions chairside and instantly transfer the digital data to the lab where case design and fabrication can begin more quickly.
Overdentures are booming and digital technology is making the fabrication of secondary bars faster, easier and more precise. Rather than waxing and casting a secondary bar, Preat is printing them via selective laser melting (SLM) in both titanium and cobalt chrome with Pearl retentive finish for acrylic retention of the secondary. Milled secondary bars are also available from a new company, Panthera Dental; see details in the “New Players” section below.
Argen also announced its latest service: Argen iS implant solutions. Later this year, the company will offer a full range of precision-milled custom abutments as well as training in CAD design.
Sun Dental Labs is offering a new scanner rental program. Laboratories can rent a Suntech 3D Model Scanner for $199 a month, which includes a free one-day training session and a free night stay in Clearwater, FL. Labs simply scan the model for any type of restoration and upload the file to Sun’s customer portal. Sun Dental Labs then designs the case, fabricates the work, and ships the case back to the lab within five days.
New Players in the Digital Market
There were several new players at this year’s DLOAC CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium, including:
Panthera Dental which is bringing digital technology to the anti-snoring/sleep apnea device market. The company offers laboratories and dentists a device that’s printed in Polymer 12—an organic material that’s non-porous, BPA free, FDA approved and hydrophobic—and offers flexibility for comfort and ease of insertion, and rigidity for durability and performance. The Panthera Dental Anti-Snoring Device is designed with Panthera’s proprietary software, produced at its new high-tech facility in Quebec City and comes with a five-year warranty.
The company also offers CAD/CAM-milled double structure bars in titanium or PMMA. The bars offer a friction fit to the primary bar; locking pins; and are available with Locators, OT Equators and ball attachments. For more information, visit www.pantheradental.com.
Italy-based Dyamach was on hand with the U.S. launch of its two milling machines: the DT2 and the FZ2. The larger DT2 unit mills precious alloys, titanium, CrCo, zirconia and resins; the smaller FZ2 mills softer materials like zirconia, resins and precious alloys. Both 5-axis systems offer wet or dry milling, an automatic tool changer and CAM software from CIMsystem. The company plans to open a U.S. office later this year. Visit www.dyamach.com.
In the subcontracting arena, 3DRPD USA offers laser-sintered partial frameworks exclusively to laboratories through its new 15,000-sq-ft manufacturing center in Rouses Point, NY. Started by Denis Theriault, CDT, MBA, a partial technician since 1983, the company prints the frameworks in cobalt chrome and models in plastic resin using its 10 rapid prototyping machines; it can design, finish and print the framework from your .stl file. The company also has a production center in Montréal and plans to open a center in France later this year. Visit www.3DRPDUSA.com.