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Ryan Hamm is the former Editorial Director for Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics.
Chuck Tagliarino, CDT, is the Technical Vice President of Operations at Sun Dental Labs, located in Clearwater, Fla. He oversees the technical information, equipment design and materials for Sun Dental Labs.
Before his current tenure at Sun Dental, Tagliarino owned and operated a dental laboratory for 36 years, where he did full-service lab work, concentrating on implants. He decided to leave his lab after the cost of new equipment in a digital world became unsustainable for him, moving to Sun Dental and joining a team trying to push the lab market forward
One of Sun Dental’s major products they use in many of their cases is Suntech Layered Zirconia. The zirconia is used in fabrications made with their advanced scanning, design and milling center. Boasting a high resistance to corrosion, stability to hydrolysis, flexural strength and high biocompatibility, Suntech is a proven zirconia option.
DLP recently spoke with Tagliarino about why Sun Dental chose to enter the zirconia market, what benefits the techs at Sun Dental can offer labs and why Suntech ends up making patients-and dentists-very happy.
DLP: What were you hearing from the lab market that led Sun Dental to develop Suntech Layered Zirconia a few years ago?
CT: The main issue was the cost of gold. Everything was PFMs, and the cost of the gold had gotten so high that everyone wanted an alternative. Non-precious was a hard way to go. [Clients] wanted something esthetically pleasing and everything went to all-ceramic. Esthetically, it’s worked out well, and the fits are good. The labs and the doctors wanted something that was cost-effective, and also looked good, and all-ceramic was the answer. We started doing full zirconia crowns and copings three years ago. Like many, we struggled at bit at first with zirconia with fit and color, dealing with the parameters on the computer and the design, but now we have it down.
There are a lot of zirconia products on the market. What distinguishes Suntech from other options? How does Sun Dental use Suntech to its advantage?
The fit. We have designers who are also technicians, and they know exactly how to design the understructure so we get the best possible esthetics and fit from our products. We’re in contact with customers constantly to achieve the best esthetic end product-we know what they want and we work to give it to them. We’re always developing procedures to get better. We’ve also changed as far as the equipment we use. We started with small mills and now use large mills-our sintering equipment is much more advanced; it’s faster and more accurate. We’re trying to get the cost-effective and good products that we can use to supply our customers. We’ve also seen advances in shading. When we first started, it was a solid block of one color, now there are blocks of varying colors, which is very esthetic in nature compared to a single color, which makes it more esthetic in full zirconia. We’re always working with companies to come up with coloring systems so we can get matched with the shade that the doctors pick.
How does Sun Dental get those great final results for your clients?
We try to have the best technicians that can design our products so it fits well, and it functions well. The anatomy is where it should be and the occlusion is where it should be, and the esthetics, which is always an ongoing experience for us, are where they need to be. We have the best technicians so we can achieve the best esthetics possible.
Have labs started to adopt to use the Suntech system?
It’s a big part of our business and it keeps growing. Our CAD department is growing monthly-we’re receiving fewer and fewer PFM cases and more and more zirconia and I think it’s going to be that way for a long time. Patients love it, and doctors are happy with it. The only drawback with full zirconia is that it’s harder to adjust, but that’s why we concentrate on making sure the fit is perfect.
What’s been the response from doctors and patients about restorations made with Suntech?
The patients love that there’s no metal involved-there’s no grain we have to deal with. It works very well with implants. There’s no discoloration, there’s no gray around the margins or discoloration in the tissue. And if the patients are happy, the doctors are happy!
What’s been the response from the labs you do work for?
[For] most of the labs, we do copings for them and then they do their own ceramic work. They’re very happy with it. Now we’re getting into scanning, so they can scan the model, send us the file and then we mill it-they send it in that day, we design the coping, mill it and they have a coping back in three days. It’s changing the whole format of the old laboratory completely. We’re also doing 3D printing-labs send us a file and we print the model and then produce the coping for that. I think eventually you’ll see labs and doctors using in-house scanners more and more, to make the entire process digital.
So in the end, what’s your goal with Suntech and with the services you provide at Sun Dental?
We’re constantly focused on quality, function and fit, for our accounts and ultimately the patient. We’re just doing our best every day.
This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Dental Lab Products. For more great articles about products in action, click here to subscribe to DLP's newsletter: http://bit.ly/13JeDYN