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10 Questions: Andy Molnar Executive Vice President, Straumann North America

Digital EstheticsDental Lab Products-2012-07-01
Issue 7

01. Can you tell us about the recently announced Vision 2020 plan?

01. Can you tell us about the recently announced Vision 2020 plan?

Straumann’s Vision 2020 project is a result of an intense review of existing data, new research and numerous interviews with experts in the field to anticipate the future markets for implant, restorative and regenerative dentistry. As the dental industry will experience a number of significant changes between now and 2020, our anticipation of the needs of dental professionals and patients positions us well to be their partner of choice in the years ahead.

As it relates to the laboratory industry, the key emerging trend is digitalization. Digital dentistry provides opportunities for the laboratory to improve efficiency, increase value-added services and streamline workflows, making them the partner of choice within their referral networks. Potential benefits for the laboratory include greater revenue, improved reliability and quality, and more predictable treatment outcomes.

02. Why did Straumann choose to put together and publicize this forecast of the industry’s future?

Factors such as technology, socio-economic influences and treatment demand will significantly impact dentistry between now and 2020. The market is so dynamic we felt it was important to envision the future and set a plan in place to make this vision a reality. We believe we are the first company in our industry to complete a project of this scale and depth. By sharing the insights of Vision 2020 with investors, customers, staff and other stakeholders we position Straumann as a partner of choice for the future.

03. What are the biggest changes facing the laboratory industry?

Digitalization is causing technicians to think differently; transferring their artistry skills from the analog to the digital world. Digitalization doesn’t replace the technician’s skills, but requires a paradigm shift from physical craftsmanship to designing in a digital environment. For example, digital dentistry offers innovative restorative materials that can reduce manufacturing time and cost, enhance quality and precision, and deliver esthetic solutions for the dentist.

The technician needs to move away from the conventional gold, to these new monolithic materials to enjoy such benefits. Also, consolidation will greatly impact the dental laboratory. We anticipate many labs will become part of larger dental practices, and we will see a reduction in independent labs, with fewer dental technicians. New technologies may cause some laboratories to struggle as they shift to the digital workflow. It’s critical that we should offer solutions and services to help our dental laboratories make this transition successfully.

04. What should dental labs be doing today to prepare themselves for the industry shifts predicted in Vision 2020?

Workflow efficiency and the overall service chain are critical for long-term sustainability and growth. For example, we now have surgeons using our iTero® intraoral scanning option to take patient impressions for their referrals. Typically, this is not a surgeon’s role, but this value-added service simplifies the workflow for the restorative doctor and differentiates the surgeon’s offering. Dental laboratories need to look at digital dentistry as an opportunity to create value-added services like this, and strengthen their referral networks.

05. What makes your recently updated Straumann CARES System 7.0 stand out from other CAD/CAM solutions?

Users want choice. Laboratories need a single system that can do it all: Straumann® CARES® System 7.0offers users full flexibility to choose a workflow through a single system. The validated workflow provides direct access to precise, high-quality Straumann materials and applications through our centralized milling facilities and pre-set design parameters through System 7.0 software. The external (open) workflow offers users full flexibility through open STL files to send data to the milling center of their choice. The new software is designed to offer state-of-the-art technologies and products across the digital workflow: intraoral scanning, guided surgery and CAD/CAM. The end solution enables technicians to work more efficiently by reducing manual tasks through the use of the full digital prosthetic workflow.

06. Why was it important for Straumann to offer both validated and external workflows in CARES 7.0?

Straumann CARES System 7.0 is about precision and flexibility: precision via the validated workflow and strong quality control processes of Straumann’s centralized milling facility, and flexibility through the external workflow to mill restorations within the laboratory itself or from the milling center of the technician’s choice. Our research determined that in 2020 we will see simple, straightforward restorations being produced chairside, while complex restorations will be milled centrally. Therefore, it becomes essential to deliver solutions and services that will meet the future needs and workflow of the dental laboratory within a single system.

07. What does Straumann look for when exploring partnerships with other manufacturers in the dental industry?

Leadership and specialization within their field, notable reputation for quality products, and research-oriented companies that complement our own strengths present ideal opportunities for successful partnerships. While we’ve always collaborated with specialists and universities for clinical research and development, we’re now a part of some extremely successful partnerships with several leading organizations-3M ESPE, Ivoclar Vivadent and Dental Wings, just to name a few.

Vision 2020 prompted our collaboration with Dental Wings and 3M ESPE to create a leading standard software platform, and we’re actively engaged in joint research with Dental Wings to continue to develop innovative solutions for the industry in this area. We believe this places us-and our customers-in a leading market position.

08. While you’ve outlined a vision for 2020, are there any new innovations from Straumann on the immediate horizon?

Vision 2020 clearly identified digital dentistry as a key to providing solutions and adding value for our customers. We’re continuing to look at materials innovations for improved esthetics and a more efficient workflow. We’re very much thinking from the point of view of workflows-how to make workflows easier for the lab, surgeon and restorative dentist. Through dedicated research, we’ve identified key workflow areas for future developments by asking: What happens when? Who needs to be involved? How can we simplify processes and deliver teeth faster to the patient?

09. What support services are available for dental laboratories that partner with Straumann?

We have invested heavily in educating existing and new customers through our training facility in Andover, Mass., as well as hosting an extensive number of university-based programs and training sessions across the country. A dedicated staff of qualified CDTs is available for real-time technical support. With the user’s permission, our staff can remotely access the software and take technicians step by step through the procedure. Our laboratory sales force is dedicated to continuous customer support and bringing new referrals to our laboratory customers.

10. Why should dentists request Straumann CAD/CAM solutions from their dental laboratory?

I believe one of our most underrated assets is our leading materials portfolio, offering technicians the choices they need to meet the demands of their referring clinicians. Partnerships with companies such as 3M ESPE, VITA and Ivoclar Vivadent, plus our own proprietary materials, allow us to offer an extensive selection of materials for a variety of applications.

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