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"The speed and velocity with which things are changing in our industry is unprecedented," Bob Ganley, CEO, told LMT during its recent visit to Ivoclar Vivadent's Amherst, New York facility. "The market is asking for change. Dentists and technicians are looking for technologies and services that save them time or make their businesses more profitable."
Ganley and his team are making sure they're embracing those changes, and that their laboratory- and dentist-clients are prepared for them. During LMT's visit, we heard about a number of product developments and services that are all centered on that effort. "For the first time, the Esthetic Revolution and the Technological Revolution have aligned, propelling dentistry to a new horizon," said Dr. Michael Gaglio, vice president of marketing. "This presents new opportunities for high strength and highly esthetic laboratory-fabricated restorations."
Gaglio is referring to Ivoclar's IPS e.max all-ceramic system introduced last year. It allows technicians to select zirconium oxide or glass ceramic and use either press or CAD/CAM fabrication techniques. The system uses a single layering ceramic, IPS e.max Ceram, regardless of the substructure or fabrication technique used. The resulting restoration is conventionally cemented. "The system was designed with simplicity and versatility in mind for both the dentist and the technician," said Gaglio.
Another example of how the company is keeping pace with technology is that it has now brought IPS Empress to CAD/CAM. In October, at Sirona's 20th anniversary celebration for Cerec in Las Vegas, Ivoclar launched IPS Empress CAD blocks for Cerec. There is also an IPS Empress CAD Multi-Block that offers variations in translucency and chroma in a single block.
Focus on synergy
The value of a dentist/technician partnership has been touted for years, but it's never been more important than now, given the technological age that dentistry has entered. Gaglio points out that the changes are an opportunity for laboratories to become even more of a technical resource for their dentist-clients and that Ivoclar Vivadent is constantly looking for ways to support the lab in this role.
The first order of business, he says, is for technicians to ensure they understand the complete restorative process, not just the fabrication phase in the laboratory. This is particularly true with bonding and cementation guidelines. "The number one question we get from technicians during training seminars is, 'how does the doctor handle the material correctly?'" says Gaglio. "Because every technician knows if the doctor doesn't handle it correctly, it doesn't matter what the lab does—the restoration will fail."
To address these concerns, Ivoclar provides cementation and bonding information as part of its Empress and e.max certification training and has developed reference cards that give indications for its MultiLink® adhesive cement for laboratories to supply to their dentist-clients. It also provides pertinent clinical information in its E News Digest, a quarterly newsletter for Empress users.
Ivoclar is also working to physically bring dentists and laboratories together. Its dare to e.magine national tour—which makes 35 stops in 25 states between now and February—is designed to address digital dentistry and new innovations from IPS Empress and e.max. The program format itself encourages networking and relationship building: a reception in the middle of the program bridges the afternoon lab course and an evening dentist course.
The company is also helping its laboratory customers reach out to dentist-clients by providing comprehensive marketing support materials such as patient education kits, case boxes, 'Made in North America' stickers and even cooperative advertising. More recently, Ivoclar launched a new website—IVCART (Ivoclar Vivadent Creative Advertising Resource Tools)—at www.IVcart.com. With just a few clicks of the mouse, Empress users can choose from five marketing campaigns and customize statement stuffers, sell sheets or postcards with their laboratory name and contact information.
"Our laboratory customers are continually looking for new and innovative ways to grow and optimize their businesses," says Gaglio. "So marketing support is something we will continue to evolve to provide the lab with the most current and up-to-date tools for their success."
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