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    13 things for labs to look forward to in 2018

    In the new year, labs can expect advances in technology, materials and the lab business itself.


    4. Dentures and milling

    While 3D printing is gaining in prevalence, milling is still an important manufacturing method.

    “I think we are going to see the release of some new mills that are specific for dentures,” Marks says. “They’ll be able to mill dentures faster and with specific tool paths for the pretty unique geometries of a denture.”

    He expects improvement in milling software, too.

    “Both for new mills that are coming on the market as well as for existing mills, I think we are going to see the new releases of software that will allow labs to mill dentures using various equipment,” he says.

    And those improvements won’t just be specific to new equipment. Older equipment can also benefit from new software.

    “Even just changing the software in an existing mill can radically improve the speed as well as the surface quality of a milled denture,” Marks explains. “I think you’re going to see the software developers really market that in 2018.”

    Read more: What digital dentistry means for implants

    5. Scanners and removables

    Marks expects to see more use of intraoral scanners in the creation of removables.

    “On the clinical side, I think we’re going to see more of the use of intraoral scanning for removable appliances,” he says. “Not necessarily full dentures, because that still requires some development and it’s still debatable whether or not it would yield a better appliance, but certainly for partial dentures and flippers and things like that. I think you’re going to see dentists who already have a scanner and want to maximize the utility of that, or new dentists that are investing in the scanner and want to use it for everything — they just don’t want to have to make any physical impressions, once they make that investment. That means that denture labs, whether they are digitally integrated or not, should be ready for that transition.”

    6. Digital dentures and accessibility

    Justin Zegar, product marketing manager, laboratory CAD/CAM and prosthetics at Dentsply Sirona, anticipates wider adoption of digital dentures.

    “Who doesn’t love a product that makes life easier for everyone involved?” Zegar asks. “Patients benefit by having an improved experience with fewer visits that leads to a comfortable fitting, highly esthetic and durable denture. Lab owners have a new product offering, simplified process, faster turnaround time, lower remake rate and a permanent digital record. Dentists benefit from chair-time savings, simplified workflow, increased accuracy and minimal post insertion adjustments.”

    The fact that the dentures are created digitally allows for easy replication, Zegar says.

    “Here’s a quick example. A patient loses their denture — no problem. Utilizing the permanent digital record, a dentist can reorder the exact same denture from the laboratory. The laboratory can provide back the exact same denture and the patient doesn’t have to go through the entire process again. Digital dentures are truly a win-win for everyone involved,” he says.

    Up next: Making removables a digital process...

    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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