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    9 things you REALLY need to know about digital imaging

    Unpacking terms like open, closed and everything in-between.


    Closed Systems

    There are some CAD/CAM components that must all be purchased from the same manufacturer in order to function. When that ecosystem exists, the system is said to be “closed”.

    For some systems, being closed can present unique features and capabilities. For instance, there’s no doubt that every component of a closed system will “play” together. But by and large, the current movement is to try and stay away from the limitations imposed by closed systems.

    “I’m under the personal opinion that nobody should really get into closed architect scanners because you become restricted as to where you can send work and you are restricted as to what types of products you can get based on what they happen to manufacture,” says Bob Cohen, president of Custom Automated Prosthetics in Stoneham, Mass.

    Buying closed systems is less and less of an occurrence as it was more common with early adopters.

    “A lot of people who originally delved into it got closed systems,” says Alex Thomas, general manager of DAL DT Technologies in Davenport, Iowa. “I would say that if anybody is looking to get it for the first time, open versus closed is almost a non-issue. You’re getting an open system no matter what.”

    Using a closed system can limit the lab in the variety of cases it can produce.

    “The biggest problem is on the back end if any of the laboratory’s accounts that they have—or want to get—move into intraoral scanners,” Thomas says. “With a closed system, you have everything you need, but there is limited availability for what that closed system can take on. It’s much more difficult to be a versatile laboratory with a closed system. And by versatile, I mean where you can send, who you can send to, who you can receive from and what doctors you can and can’t take on.”

    Related reading: Meeting the challenges of digitalization, head on

    The notion of a system being “closed” is not necessarily a black-and-white issue, however. There are varying degrees of whether a system is closed. For instance, while a given system’s scanner might require the CAD component from the same manufacturer, in many cases the final file can still be output in an open format. Ultimately, it comes down to which manufacturer you and your client doctors elect to work with.

    “Sirona lab software allows for the STL import of scan files,” says Norbert Ulmer, director of laboratory CAD/CAM at Sirona Dental. “And since all the other systems on the market are providing STL exports, these are scans that can be imported into the Sirona software, and, therefore, this makes Sirona the only system—the only lab software—that can accommodate any DI [digital impression] solution out there.”

    Continue to page three for more...


    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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