Information provided by Williams Dental Laboratory Inc. The Lab Williams Dental Laboratory Inc. is a full-service laboratory based in Erie, Pa., with more than 30 employees. The laboratory services Pennsylvania, Western New York and Eastern Ohio. Owners Jim Conway, Bill Stroh and Barb Marlette have more than 120 combined years of experience among them.
Information provided by Williams Dental Laboratory Inc.
Williams Dental Laboratory Inc. is a full-service laboratory based in Erie, Pa., with more than 30 employees. The laboratory services Pennsylvania, Western New York and Eastern Ohio. Owners Jim Conway, Bill Stroh and Barb Marlette have more than 120 combined years of experience among them.
Sensable Technologies INC.
Sensable Dental’s Intellifit™ Digital Restoration System is a lab-proven CAD/CAM system for fixed and removables. Sensable’s CAD/CAM solutions provide an integrated digital platform for the design of metal and flexible partials and full contour crowns and bridges in the materials of a lab’s choice. Open and economical, it can be implemented modularly, in conjunction with supported open scanners, milling machines and 3D printers a lab may already own, or as a complete integrated scan/design or scan/design/production systems. With this technology, labs can produce restorations in-house or outsource to a Sensable Authorized Production Center.
Williams Lab has used CAD/CAM technologies for many years to produce wax copings for bridgework and for milling zirconia/ceramic frameworks. Four years ago they began using Sensable’s Intellifit solution to produce partial frameworks.
“When we first started, there was a bigger learning curve than there is today, but use of this product over time has proven to give us consistent high quality products,” Stroh said. “The thickness of the major connectors, the shape and size of the clasps, and the placement and position of the virtual wax is controlled precisely.”
The adaptation of the wax to the model is better than can be done by hand, Stroh said, and this is then translated into the printed framework. Partial frameworks are printed on the same plate (at the same time) as the lab’s copings for bridgework. The printed framework is placed on the master model where the fit and bite is verified and is then sprued and invested for casting.
“We no longer make refractory models or hand wax any partials. Since the partial is designed and printed with such precision, finishing time on the casting has been reduced by 20 percent,” he said.
Stroh said using Sensable not only has saved time and increased efficiency, but has helped his laboratory in delivering quality restorations as well. “We have always taken pride in the quality of our partials, but this system has brought a higher level of quality and consistency to the dental office than ever before, and the volume of our business has increased by 20 percent,” he said. “Should you ask our technicians (or customers) how they would prefer to make partials-by making refractories or by using the Sensable way-each will readily prefer the Sensable way.”
Flexible partials always have been a challenge to finish and polish. Williams Dental now uses the precise controls of Sensable to produce a baseplate that is exactly the correct size, shape and thickness of a finished flexible partial and uses it to process the final partial. This technique saves 30 minutes in finishing each partial and the final partial “looks and functions better than before,” Stroh said.
As far as ROI, Stroh said using this technology saves a great deal of time in the construction process-that is no labor or materials to make refractories or waxing and saving time in finishing-and this translates into money saved in making the framework. Further, as he previously stated the increase in quality and consistency of the work has led to a 20 percent increase in the volume of their partial business. “This is a return on investment that will last for years to come,” he said.
Finally, use of Sensable’s crown and bridge and partial removable software places more control of technology into the lab’s hands rather than in the hands of a few technicians. Critical knowledge can now be passed from an older generation of technicians to a younger generation without loss of needed skills, Stroh said.
“The use of the system does require a learning curve, but not as much now as it did four years ago, and once technicians learn how to use it, they do not want to go back to the old system of refractories,” he said. “Sensable has been in the dental business for about six years and has proven that they will be here for the long haul. I have seen some of their new product ideas that are in the pipeline and I am more excited than ever about what is to come.”