This summer, Ivoclar Vivadent announced that it had invested in Sirona Dental Systems, manufacturer of the Cerec InLab and Cerec chairside CAD/CAM systems, as well as in D4D Technologies, manufacturer of the E4D CAD/CAM systems for laboratories and dental offices. Ivoclar has supplied consumable materials for the Sirona system for a number of years, and will continue to do so, as well as to supply materials for the E4D system, which will be exclusively distributed by Henry Schein. (Along with Ivoclar, Henry Schein and 3M also now own a portion of D4D Technologies.)
LMT recently visited Ivoclar Vivadent at its Amherst, New York facility and had a chance to talk with Bob Ganley, chief executive officer of Ivoclar Vivadent AG, about what the investments mean for the company, as well as the future of digital dentistry.
LMT: Why are the Sirona and D4D investments a good "fit" for Ivoclar?
Bob Ganley: We want to help lead digital dentistry. There is a definite demand for CAD/CAM dentistry from both the lab and the dentist, and Ivoclar Vivadent has earned a significant share of the market for materials used in these laboratory and chairside machines. But investing in these companies allows us the flexibility to help shape the future of digital dentistry.
LMT: Sirona and D4D are the two companies that have or will have chairside CAD/CAM systems on the market. What do you say to lab owners who are concerned about the growing number of in-office CAD/CAM systems?
Ganley: We all can deny the growth and reject the demands of the market but this would be denying the reality of a new technology and the change that it brings. Chairside CAD/CAM will not replace the laboratory and CAD/CAM in the laboratory will not replace other technologies. It will complement them. The dentist will still utilize the laboratory for the esthetic cases that require layering of ceramic and the laboratory will still maintain its technical and artistic role. However, it will not be completely the same--and it shouldn't be. The industry is moving forward and we--technicians, dentists and manufacturers--must move with it so we can be beneficiaries of change, not its victims.
LMT: To what extent will digital technology impact our industry?
Ganley: Look at the advances in the medical industry and you can see that many procedures are now based on digital technology; the physician has a greater role in using the technology and can achieve a more predictable result. We'll see the same thing happen in dentistry as the technology starts to permeate our industry. For example, soft tissue lasers have been used for years in the medical field and yet have only come into dentistry recently. From the standpoint of soft tissue management, diode lasers have greatly enhanced the outcome for the dentist and, most importantly, the patient.
Undoubtedly, CAD/CAM has the potential to change the way dentistry is done. And the larger concept of digital data acquisition, management and communication has the potential to provide benefits to the dentist, the laboratory and the patient.
Related Article: LMT at Ivoclar Vivadent: Meeting industry changes head-on