Behind the creation of IPS e.max Press Multi

Harald Bürke, R&D expert in dental ceramics at Ivoclar Vivadent, tells Dental Lab Products how the latest in press ceramics, the IPS e.max Press Multi, came together.

IPS e.max has been known and respected in the dental laboratory world for years now. It’s known for esthetics and clinical dependability and as an increasingly accepted option for a variety of indications. A year ago, Ivoclar Vivadent released a new entry in the IPS e.max line-IPS e.max Press Multi. This multi-shaded all-ceramic material was engineered to provide even better esthetics, using an ingot that mimics the real shade of enamel and dentin even more closely. To find out more about the creation of IPS e.max Press Multi and what led to its invention, we recently spoke with Harald Bürke, an R&D expert at Ivoclar Vivadent who was involved with its development. Here’s what he said about this innovative new product:

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your role at Ivoclar Vivadent, and what part did you play in the creation/rollout of IPS e.max Press Multi? 

I began working as a development engineer at the all-ceramics department of Ivoclar Vivadent 15 years ago. At that time, lithium disilicate in dentistry was still in its infancy. My task was to mature the material for the press and CAD/CAM technique in such a way that it was suited to meet the needs of the market. After the polychromatic CAD/CAM blocks had been introduced, my bosses discussed the idea of extending this approach to include polychromatic ingots for the press technique. In a small group, we explored various routes for achieving this. At first, nobody could really imagine how we could turn this idea into reality. I sat down and began to design a few straightforward experiments, which I subsequently implemented together with our technician, Vittorio Cadario. We soon had some success.

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What were you hearing from laboratory technicians that made you and the team realize the IPS e.max Press Multi would fill a need in the market?

The people working in product marketing told us the manufacturing processes for crowns had to become faster and easier. At the same time, the esthetic demands continued to rise. While monolithic crowns can be pressed in a short time, they inevitably show esthetic inadequacies, and the individual layering technique is time-consuming and expensive. The IPS e.max Press Multi crowns present a middle ground between these two techniques. Ultimately, however, they must be able to stand up to a comparison with layered crowns.

What were challenges developing the product?

We had to find a new method to press the IPS e.max Press Multi ingots. This required us to develop new accessories (wax patterns for sprueing the wax-up to the investment ring, one-way plunger, investment ring base). In particular, the shape of the wax pattern allows the ingot to be pressed correctly whilst providing a true-to-nature shade progression. The development of these components and the transfer to serial production were the biggest challenges of this project. 

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Was there a breakthrough moment where you realized you and your team had come up with something really special?

The very first press sequences resulted in some really funny shade patterns on the pressed restorations. While some saw this as evidence that polychromatic pressing was not possible, I took it as an incentive to try out different ways. After we were able to prove that our new press method was indeed suitable for producing crowns that show a completely natural-looking graduation of shade and translucency, a project was immediately launched. All the better that the principle can be used for the individual diversity of dental restorations.

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Did the popularity of standard IPS e.max help people understand the new product, or was it a challenge explaining how this new option would improve results?

We used the tried-and-tested high-strength lithium disilicate glass-ceramic to implement the principle of polychromatic pressing. This material combines excellent esthetics with exceptional robustness. Technicians can feel this quality right from the beginning when they start working with the material. Chipping is no issue. However, the new sprueing technique requires explanation. When we want to explain why and how the proportions of dentin and incisal material can be individually adjusted, we need to go into depth. However, the application in practice is all the easier for it.

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What have you heard from labs who have used the product?

Dental technicians are fascinated by the possibility of pressing restorations that show a graduated transition from dentin to incisal. IPS e.max Press Multi restorations are easy to achieve and exhibit convincing esthetic properties. Time-consuming manual layering is no longer necessary.

A webinar explaining more details of IPS e.max Press Multi

What have you heard from dentists and patients who have received restorations made with IPS e.max Press Multi?

The feedback from dentists who have used IPS e.max Press Multi restorations on their patients has been enthusiastic so far. The combination of a monolithic crown (high strength, no risk of chipping) and the esthetics of a “layered crown” has been particularly well-received. Patients are pleased with the fantastic esthetic quality of their restorations and are appreciative of the work done by the dentist and dental lab.

What are you most proud of about the development process for IPS e.max Press Multi?

It is my task to develop new, innovative products. I can be proud of a job well-done.

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How will Ivoclar Vivadent use the lessons learned during this process to continue to innovate in the future?

If you want to be truly innovative, there is only a little you can take with you from your past experiences. The challenges are always new. I’m glad to work for a company that offers every opportunity for creative development. This is exactly what I studied for. I strongly advise all dental technicians to work with the IPS e.max Press Multi ingots.

For more information on IPS e.max Press Multi, call 800-533-6825 or visit ivoclarvivadent.com.