19 technologies that changed 2016


DE Editorial Board members share the technologies they think changed and shaped the dental/lab workflow in 2016.

Digital Esthetics exists because our editorial team truly believes that technology has changed the dental workflow forever.

So with that in mind, we recently reached out to our editorial advisory board with a simple question: In 2016, what were the technologies that changed/improved the dental/lab workflow, and why were they so revolutionary?

01 | iTero Element 

The iTero Element features a tablet instead of a PC to run the software and the stand-mounted tablet is easy to move and easy to use. The new camera is smaller than the old unit, and even though we didn’t have issues with the size of the old camera, this one is easier to use and also has a much thinner and lighter cable. However, the real show stopper is the acquisition software itself. The Element takes images at a rate of 6,000 per second, which means it is acquiring incredible amounts of data at a speed that seems almost impossible to imagine. -Dr. John Flucke, Chief Technology Editor, Dental Products Report

02 | Li-Si press ingot and Li-Si porcelain system

I always consider ingot opacity selections in order to mask prep color, as well as coping color to match adjacent teeth, especially in single anterior cases; but I also consider porcelain color even when I bake multiple time, because I do not like low values that result in a gray color. All of this is solved now with this incredible product from GC America. -Luke S. Kahng, CDT, Owner LSK121 Oral Prosthetics

Trending article: The top 10 Digital Esthetics products of 2016

03 | Identica Hybrid scanner

This dental lab scanner allows the technician to place a full arch or full mouth rehab case on a fully adjustable articulator and scan the case to ensure the proper vertical dimension. Models of patient approved provisionals can also be cross-mounted and scanned; these files are then superimposed over the die scan for efficient and accurate design of final restorations. -Shaun Keating, CDT, Founder of Keating Dental Arts

04 | Intraoral scanning

The use of intraoral scanning has greatly reduced chair time and increased marginal fit all while increasing patient comfort and decreasing costs as most labs will offer a discount for submitting a digital file. -Paresh B. Patel, DDS

05 | BioHorizons Snap Scan body

This new snap scan body doesn’t use a screw. This allows better/easier alignment in design software to get implant positioning. The use of a connection-specific, color-coded titanium sleeve also makes the seating surface of the scan body radio opaque, giving doctors a better view through X-ray as to confirming the seating of the part in the mouth. 
-Mark Ferguson, General Manger of Vulcan Custom Dental

06 | Shofu EyeSpecial C-II

For lab communication, there is nothing better than a photograph. That’s where the EyeSpecial C-II comes in. The camera is specifically designed for dentistry and allows for high-quality pictures to be taken with minimal training. Because it is so easy to use and so easy to acquire good high-resolution pictures, the EyeSpecial C-II can simplify the picture taking process. It has grid lines that allow the user to center the teeth and also keep them on the proper horizontal plane. It also has an exceptional depth of field. -Dr. John Flucke

07 | Magic Touch lab software

This laboratory-based tracking software allows seamless integration of sales reports, customer interface and laboratory case work. Using the online portal, customers can pay their lab bills, schedule UPS pick-ups, add photographs to cases and contact the technician directly to add specific details to their lab RX.
-Shaun Keating, CDT

Trending article: The top 10 Digital Esthetics web articles of 2016

08 | Freedom HD SACNNER

Scan at speeds up to 40 percent faster with new ScanApp software, which increases productivity. The Freedom HD scanner has precision within 10 microns and the expanded scanning stage can accommodate large articulators, eliminating the need for re-articulation in many cases. -Luke S. Kahng, CDT

09 | No-model ortho and digital DICOM files

Gone are the days of alginate for study casts and the time and costly expense of pouring and trimming the casts. Not to mention cases to store and index them. Now with no-model ortho and merging that with a DICOM file from the CT scan, a digital tx pl can be generated for more esthetic and optimal outcomes. -Paresh B. Patel, DDS

10 | Simple computer specifications

Computers are now able to handle more data than ever before. This capability is showing itself in that technicians are designing larger and larger cases with confidence that the computer won’t crash.
-Mark Ferguson  

11 | Intraoral scan bodies for implant work

Digital dentists can now place an intraoral scan body, scan the case and send the file to the lab instead of taking a fixture-level impression. The intraoral scan allows simultaneous production of the abutment and crown, and most single unit restorations can be successfully fabricated without ever needing a model. -Shaun Keating, CDT

12 | prepCheck

prepCheck is a Dentsply Sirona software program that provides the dental student with an objective analysis of their tooth preparations. The student can compare their prep to an ideal master preparation. The preparation can be measured by the student to assess the amount of reduction compared to the master prep, undercuts on axial walls, parallelness and adequate occlusal reduction. My favorite application of the software is the analysis of the preparation margin. The software analysis tool identifies and helps the student visualize sharp margin edges as well as nick and notches, and smooth and rough margin surfaces.  -Elizabeth Curran CDT, RDT; Assoc. Prof., Director Dental Laboratory Technology, A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health

13 | 3D printing for the masses

The advancements in 3D printing came faster over the last year as we saw advancements in multiple areas coming together to take the technology to the next level. There are now machines capable of combining materials in the same print to give amazing versatility. This makes the 3D printer similar to an ink jet printer for pictures. Uses of this include the introduction of a variety of colors, or ability to print soft tissue. On the other end of the spectrum, smaller printers are much more affordable than they have been in the past. 
-Mark Ferguson

Trending article: The top 10 techniques of 2016

14 | Datron D5 and Hyperdent milling technique

This top-of-the-line, 5-axis titanium milling machine makes it easy to make difficult titanium abutments and bars with high precision, and can complete the work with same day results.
-Luke S. Kahng, CDT

15 | Modeless crowns

Modeless CAD/CAM crowns have decreased our wait time from three weeks to as short as five business days. With so many choices of new materials for CAD/CAM, creating milled crowns that have excellent marginal integrity makes going digital a top choice. -Paresh B. Patel, DDS

16 | 3Shape digital workflows

As 3Shape continues to add functionality to their software, the biggest benefit is a more streamlined workflow allowing greater patient care. For example, the workflow of implant planning, guide creation, followed by design of a screw retained temp for time of surgery. An added benefit of this is great team communication throughout the implant placement and restorative process. -Mark Ferguson

Trending article: 3D printing the future of dentistry

17 | Labolight Duo

All light-cured dental composite resin materials can be cured with the Labolight Duo (from GC America), which uses new LED technology that provides high energy efficiency on polymerization work. The quality of the work is much better after the glaze; it is still the same color compared to any other curing machine. I can use this curing unit even when I open the door. -Luke S. Kahng, CDT

18 | Surgical guide technology

Surgical guides for single-tooth implant dentistry takes on a whole new dimension with optical scans having the ability to be seamlessly merged with the CT scan. Now, planning a guided case can be done with a few mouse clicks. -Paresh B. Patel, DDS

19 | Amann Girrbach DNA Generation milling machine

Now I can get a much better, smoother surface outside the sprue area when I mill a full mouth arch screw retained bridge with this machine, due to three different strategies. Also I can save 40-60 percent of my milling time. -Luke S. Kahng, CDT 

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