2011 DLOAC CAD/CAM Expo & Symposium Day 1

November 18, 2011

The day started early for the technicians and lab owners attending the 8th Annual Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California CAD/CAM Expo & Symposium, but the sizable crowd was in store for a day packed with details on the latest in dental lab technology and opportunities to meet with the range of companies selling scanners, mills, materials and associated products.

The day started early for the technicians and lab owners attending the 8th Annual Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California CAD/CAM Expo & Symposium, but the sizable crowd was in store for a day packed with details on the latest in dental lab technology and opportunities to meet with the range of companies selling scanners, mills, materials and associated products.

Keynote speaker Dr. Ed McLaren got the day started with his Ceramic Wars parody of Star Wars (watch it here) before launching into an entertaining talk on the science of dental CAD/CAM materials with tips on achieving the best results when working with ceramics layered atop zirconia copings.

“The key is the last bake, the glaze bake,” he said, explaining that proper cooling technique is critical because the veneering ceramics cool faster than the zirconia cores.

Dr. McLaren continued by explaining that high firing porcelains such as Vident’s VM9 and Noritake’s CZR provide the best results when being layered onto zirconia cores. He also said that sandblasting the copings can actually provide better bonding to veneering materials and to the preps when the restoration is being seated.

He then went on to describe his vision of the digital dental team with digital technologies playing a key role in the future of dental restoration production, but skilled ceramists still providing the critical finishing of crowns. He expects more milled restorations to be the norm, with temps being printed on 3D printers. In terms of forthcoming developments, he noted the patent on lithium disilicate about to expire, Dr. McLaren said Ivoclar Vivadent’s e.max is likely to face competition, and he is looking forward to the high speed plasma sintering that will speed up production of zirconia restorations.

Next up was a cavalcade of CAD/CAM companies presenting on their systems. Sheila Cullers from Delcam highlighted the company’s end-to-end software solutions for restorations of all types and teased a new scanner option from the company that will be closely integrated with the software. Presentations from labs using B&D’s ORIGIN CAD/CAM system and Wieland’s Zenotec Mini highlighted what they like about those systems, while Don Cornell, speaking on behalf of Jensen Dental chose to use his time to talk about what open-architecture really means and the importance of a validated connection between technologies.

Nobel Biocare’s Jerry Vogel talked about his company’s CAD/CAM software and the way it tightly connects labs with dentists and oral surgeons for optimal results. Representatives from Dental Wings previewed the company’s latest partnerships and previewed DWOS 3.0 software and Series-7 Scanner. In the final presentation before lunch Glidewell Laboratories’ Robin Carden talked about the proprietary production process behind the company’s massively successful BruxZir full-contour zirconia material. The lab is currently doing all-ceramics for 67% of its work and believes strongly in monolithic materials. Carden said they are working to constantly approve the BruxZir formula and have a revolutionary Lightspeed plasma sintering technology in the works that can sinter the material in just 12 minutes.

Lunch was held in the exhibit hall giving attendees and manufacturer representatives the chance to mingle while eating before the next round of manufacturer talks. After lunch Simon Ghosh from iTero explained his company’s role in providing chairside digital scans and the benefits of the company’s models. Up next CadBlu’s Jacob Oppenheimer highlighted the company’s extensive customer support services and full range of CAD/CAM systems from 3Shape scanners to 3D Systems and SolidScape 3D printers, Naberthem furnace and new EZMill tabletop mill.

Straumann’s Max Shulze was up next discussing the company’s CARES CAD/CAM system and the ways it integrates into implant cases and more. His presentation showed everything from custom abutment creation to the wide range of materials options available. A pair of lab owners were tapped to talk about Objet’s 3D printing technology showing off its production capabilities and versatile printing ability.

Sirona VP of CAD/CAM Roddy MacLeod talked about the company’s massive R&D investment and desire to lead the dental field into a digital age. Next Ron Breuklander talked about his lab’s various systems with a focus on what he does with Zirkonzahn’s CAD/CAM system, copy mill technology and Prettau zirconia material. The last manufacturer presentation came from Biomet 3i’s Donald Park who discussed the company’s rebranded BellaTEK digital products including abutments, bars and copings produced at their production center.

Dr. Russell Giordano had the position as the day’s final speaker and the Boston University Dental School instructor focused on materials science showing off the various properties of millable ceramics. While he said the future will eventually focus on additive processes, milling the here for the time being and offers great results with monolithic materials, as long as they are used correctly.

“If they can’t spell zirconia, you probably shouldn’t buy it from them, even though it’s only $6 a block,” he said while explaining that the way zirconia is processed for milling is critical to its success in dental restorations. He noted that the science is not settled on full contour zirconia restorations in terms of long-term success in the mouth. Still some form of digital production is the way the industry is headed and labs need to be involved.

“Dentists that are graduating are going to be used to using this technology, so you are going to need to be ready,” he said.

The day ended with a reception in the exhibit hall with another slate of presentations on tap for the packed Saturday schedule.