30 Memorable Moments

Series · 28 articles

There are 25 Articles
  • 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...

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  • 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...

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  • 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...

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  • 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...

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  • 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,...

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  • 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 LMTmag.com on Monday for another LMT Memorable Moment.

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  • Chairside CAD/CAM Makes U.S. Debut

    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...

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  • The Launch of an Industry Phenomenon: LAB DAY  ®

    If you’re a regular LAB DAY Chicago attendee it may be hard to believe that a show known to be the largest gathering of dental laboratory decision makers in North America began with just 30 exhibitors and about 275 attendees.

    Prior to 1985, the Chicago Dental Society (CDS)’s MidWinter Meeting was housed in the downtown Hilton Hotel and a handful of companies hosted programs for the laboratory community across the street in the Blackstone Hotel. But in 1985, the CDS moved its meeting to the convention center, which left some companies up in the air about what to do for their technician...

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  • The Philippine Connection: LMT's Ground-Breaking Interview

    In October 1985, amidst rumblings that U.S. laboratories were farming work out to offshore laboratories, LMT brought the issue out into the open. Our interview with Jerry Doviack, CDT, Owner of California-based Continental Dental Ceramics, took readers inside Interdent, his facility in the Philippines and sparked intense industry debate.

    In the interview, Doviack explained his strategy behind setting up offshore production to provide outsourcing services to laboratories around the world, saying it wouldn’t take jobs away because the local laboratory would still provide a vital service to...

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  • An Industry First: LMT's Original Crown Experiment

    LMT took six impressions of the same prep and anonymously sent them to six different laboratories along with prescriptions for non-precious PFM crowns; one was made in the Philippines. In this ground-breaking experiment in 1985—with LMT Publisher Judy Fishman as the patient—we wanted to know: could a dentist tell the difference between the $35 crown and the $75 crown?

    Among our panel of dentists, no one crown was rated head and shoulders above the rest. Although not uniform in their assessments, the dentists could not discern which was the most expensive and which was the least; in...

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  • Flexing for Esthetics

    Though first developed in the 1950s by Arpad Nagy of Valplast, flexible partial dentures didn’t take off until the 1980s; as the cosmetic wave hit dentistry, dentists and patients alike looked for solutions that were both functional and esthetic.

    Today, flexible dentures make up 20% of the average workload for full service and removable laboratories, according to LMT’s 2012 Removable Survey, and demand is on the rise: half of these labs are selling more flexible partials than they were five years ago.

     Visit LMTmag.com tomorrow for another LMT Memorable Moment.

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  • Patent Wars Commence

    As the enormous marketing potential of laminate veneers became evident, patent infringement cases began. While DenMat held various material patents, two other companies—Jaff Investment Co., owned by brothers Al and Frank Faunce, and Deneer, Inc., owned by Tom Greggs—held patents on the fabrication process.

    However, many laboratories were still producing laminates on their own and this fueled a number of lawsuits and out-of-court settlements. In 1992, the issue reared its head again when laboratories around the country received letters from Yukiyo Ltd.—which had purchased an existing...

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  • Hope Sells: Marketing Direct to the Patient

    Since cosmetic dentistry marketing was typically an appeal to emotions, it was the perfect time for laboratory owners to take their message directly to the public. By all accounts, DenMat Corp. was the first: in the Fall of 1984, the company placed ads in consumer magazines—Reader’s Digest and McCall’s—saying, “Give a Smile for Christmas.” The ads elicited a tremendous response and the company’s telephones were jammed.

    By February of 1985, Dr. Robert Ibsen, then president, told the crowd at a Cal-Lab meeting that DenMat was making over 1,000 Cerinate laminates...

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