Nobel Biocare’s NobelProcera™

March 21, 2012

The lab Founded in 1983 by Thomas Wade, CDT, and his wife Sue Wade, New Horizons Dental Laboratory is a small boutique lab in Broomfield, Co., with a focus on high-quality conventional removables and implant prosthetics. The product

The lab

Founded in 1983 by Thomas Wade, CDT, and his wife Sue Wade, New Horizons Dental Laboratory is a small boutique lab in Broomfield, Co., with a focus on high-quality conventional removables and implant prosthetics.

The product

NobelProcera™ is a comprehensive CAD/CAM system for designing and fabricating individualized dental prosthetics ranging from crowns and bridges to implant abutments and overdenture bars. Material options include zirconia, alumina and titanium. Impressions or models are scanned at the lab with digital case design completed in NobelProcera Software. Production is completed at Nobel Biocare’s facility via state-of-the-art milling technology for precise fits and optimal strength.

The results

With a reputation for fabricating quality removable prosthetics, Thomas Wade said New Horizons Dental Laboratory was “plugging along just fine” for the first 23 years he and his wife, Sue, ran the business. Implant-related cases made up a percentage of the work coming in to the lab, but the large majority of the work was creating conventional dentures, RPDs and bruxism splints.

Wade had restored full arch, multiple implant cases on cast bars that were fabricated by various crown and bridge labs because he had never gotten involved in the casting part of the fixed process. But six years ago, while attending a tradeshow in Chicago, Wade first saw the CAD/CAM system known as BioCad (Now NobelProcera) and instantly knew this was a technology he wanted to pursue in his lab. The computer-designed and milled titanium overdenture bars were so precise and had such a high level of structural integrity that they eliminated the problems of fit (passivity) and compromised strength that can result from imperfect castings that require sectioning and welding. These bars completely changed the way implant prostheses could be engineered and fabricated.

“There’s just no comparison between a cast bar and a milled titanium bar,” Wade said. “There’s no throwing of melted alloy that causes distortion and porosity, no cutting and welding, they’re perfectly passive.”

Over the past six years Wade and New Horizons have used the NobelProcera system to create the bars for implant supported and assisted cases, the implant-related side of the lab’s caseload has increased to close to 50% of the work. Now he is thrilled with the solutions he can offer to dentists and their patients because he can work with the clinician and the surgeon to ensure the prosthetically driven placement of the implants as well as a “state of the art” prosthesis that can withstand the significant forces implant supported dentures must endure.

When using NobelProcera implant bars, Wade knows the bars he receives from Nobel will fit the model very passively, which means he and the clinicians he works with must be exacting and diligent in their impression and model work. They are rewarded with confidence that the restoration will interface perfectly with the implants at the final seating appointment, which is often the shortest appointment for the clinician and the patient.

“Everything is well engineered and strategically put together,” Wade said. “Usually when these things go in the doctor calls and says it bolted right up because we know we’ve eliminated all the surprises.”

Wade said he is confident not only in the fit, but in the function because the restorations he creates have been designed using a reverse engineering approach made possible by the digital technology. When combined with Ivoclar Vivadent’s denture teeth and SR Ivocap injection acrylic material, the NobelProcera Bars make up “the recipe for state-of-the-art full-arch implant supported restorations.”

While he works with a range of implant systems and has completed cases with CAD/CAM bars from other sources, Wade said the NobelProcera bars stand out for their precision and high finish quality. It also helps that when working on a case using Nobel Biocare’s implants, the components available for the lab to work with are “second to none.” And because of the forces a patient can generate on a set of implant supported overdentures, Wade said he knows he cannot cut a single corner in the design, fabrication technique or quality of materials he will use on these cases.

“We have to try our very best to engineer these things to be bullet proof.”

This is because even with the best technology and materials behind the work, implant bar cases are complex in their design with many missteps possible. Moving to the NobelProcera system helps Wade eliminate a few of these possible issues, but even top notch technology is not a quick fix or a shortcut, and it is best suited for labs that are willing to meticulously work through these detailed cases to provide the highest quality restorations possible.

But for labs that are willing to really learn how Procera works, the results can be amazing. Wade said his lab has had its best years ever in the last few years and he gives his investment in technology a lot of credit for that success. Rather than being hit hard by the recession, Wade hired two technicians in the last few years and he said being on the cutting edge with NobelProcera helped New Horizons stay strong and take its work “into the 21st century in a big way.”

“Stumbling onto this technology six years ago, getting all excited about it and being motivated to learn it and get good with it has made a big difference in my lab,” he said. “I credit it for helping me be in a prosperous situation during a time that’s been difficult for a lot of other labs.