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THE LAB Nelson Rego owns and operates Smile Designs by Rego, a progressive dental laboratory specializing in ceramics in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. The high-end laboratory has 15 employees and works with a variety of Ivoclar Vivadent’s press and ceramic furnaces. THE PRODUCTS
Nelson Rego owns and operates Smile Designs by Rego, a progressive dental laboratory specializing in ceramics in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. The high-end laboratory has 15 employees and works with a variety of Ivoclar Vivadent’s press and ceramic furnaces.
The laboratory started using Ivoclar Vivadent’s press and ceramic furnaces in 1990, and today some of those same ovens are still used. Rego and his staff use the Programat EP 5000, and have also used the EP 600, EP 500, P300, P500 and P700 models.
“I actually don’t have anyone else’s oven,” said Rego, an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. “They range from the P95 original oven to the P80, 100, 300, 500 and P700. I think I’ve got every oven they’ve ever made.”
Nelson’s lab, Smile Designs by Rego, gets the most of their P 5000 furnace with options to press or fire ceramic.
“The furnace has many features that allows me to increase productivity and control my labor costs such as the electronic Intelligent Press Function,” Rego said.
The operating unit has a large, clearly arranged, high-resolution, swivel color display and can be operated via touchscreen or with the membrane-sealed keypad. The user-friendly menu control uses symbols and text to guide the user to the desired program or setting. Another control feature is the Crack Detection System identifies cracks in the investment ring and aborts the press procedure, saving restorations and minimizing press failures.
As is the case with other Ivoclar products, the ovens and furnaces used by Smile Designs by Rego deliver high-quality results time and time again. According to Rego, they more than make up for their initial investment by working well, lasting long and saving his laboratory time.
“When you consider we have several ovens called P95s that are for baking ceramics, that I’ve had since 1992, then that initial extra cost, now 18-19 years later is pretty ridiculously small,” he said. “One of the things that I really like to look at is what are things costing me in labor. That’s really the big part that labs miss every time.
“They’ll say, ‘Oh, that oven costs X.’ But they don’t realize all of the benefits it may provide, and therefore may not understand what a sound investment that particular purchase may bring to their laboratory.”
Rego’s favorite feature with the EP 5000 is the crack detector, which senses when your investment ring has gotten a crack in it and it stops the press. He says this detection system can save a lab some very costly failures. Without it, severe cracks can ruin a restoration and therefore waste labor on waxing and investing work, as well as on the cost of the e.max ingots.
“That crack in the investment is a problem for several reasons,” he said. “You’ve got to start over, pay someone to wax it, and when starting over you’re always under the gun time wise. Now how much have you spent on one case just to save that initial cost on the oven?”
Rego and his staff love the reliability of the Ivoclar Vivadent ovens they use. “It’s a workhorse. You never have to worry about it,” he said.
Rego said Ivoclar Vivdent’s advanced calibration systems and customized sensors allow users to know their equipment is working just the way it is supposed to work. Different sensors operate the ovens differently depending on where you are in the country, for example parts of the country may have a humidity sensor, because if it’s too humid where you are, that can be a problem with the operation of the ovens. In California, however, Smile Designs by Rego does not need to take advantage of such a sensor.
What the staff does take advantage of on a daily basis is the easy-to-use preset buttons.
“It’s awesome. All you do is press a button,” Rego said. “If you want to do e.max you press the e.max column and it asks you what size the ring is and what you are pressing. Basically you have a little menu…if you press the larger ring you get a different cycle than when you press the smaller ring. All that is set up for you. It really is user friendly.”
With the home screen of the EP 5000, a user working with e.max can select medium or high opacity, select LT, HT or ZirPress and then select am operating mode.
“The small adjustments in each press take you to where you need to be. It’s really an efficient method for pressing ceramics,” Rego said.
The oven even can be adjusted to work with other systems, for both monolithic or layered restorations, and once removed you move on to a touchscreen oven like the P500 or P700 and it’s the same touch screen with simple settings for the product. “You can’t screw things up,” Rego said. “It’s the same exact button, whether you’re using a blue block (IPS e.max CAD) and sintering, or you’re going to wax it and press the e.max in a typical lab technique.”
With presintered blue blocks you can use a CEREC to mill in lab and get the restoration on the spot, or another system to digitally scan it, wax on screen and then mill. If your lab works with someone like Diadem, you scan it and then the restoration arrives in the mail.
Rego loves the simplicity. “We don’t even open the instructions. You just look at the screen and it’s really easy to use from there,” he said.
For Rego, the bottom line is working with equipment you know and trust, equipment that will consistently do the right job and not let you and your customers down.
“Why use an oven that has imprecise calibration, imprecise firing cycles, imprecise vacuum? Why do all that to save a few dollars (over 10 years of use)? How many times over are you going to lose out?”
Rego said some lab owners may struggle to pinpoint how these ovens deliver a great ROI, but once you work with them you realize they are a key part of the overall process of his successful lab.
“Clients won’t say, ‘Hey your oven does great’ but everything you do for ceramic restorations is important. The heat and cool stage is really important and you need something that’s consistently firing at the right temperature, cooling at the right cycle and you don’t have to worry about it.”