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Top 6 benefits of digital impressions and a model-less workflow

Issue 5

Ever thought your lab could create a crown without an impression or a model? It’s possible with the right technology. In an on-demand webinar, Dr. Bruce Cooper takes you through the digital, model-free workflow process with the 3M™ True Definition Scanner and outlines the many benefits this type of workflow can bring to your practice, your lab, and of course, your patients.

Ever thought your lab could create a crown without an impression or a model? It’s possible with the right technology. In an on-demand webinar, Dr. Bruce Cooper takes you through the digital, model-free workflow process with the 3M™ True Definition Scanner and outlines the many benefits this type of workflow can bring to your practice, your lab, and of course, your patients.

Deciding whether or not to watch the on-demand webinar? Here’s a sneak peak at what you’ll learn.

As a dentist, you have so many technologies to choose from, technologies that are designed to improve patient care while making you more efficient at the same time. The possibilities continue to grow as technology continues to improve.

Incorporating a digital model-free workflow into your practice is one of those possibilities, and one that can really distinguish dentists and labs from the competition, putting them on the leading edge of dentistry.  

In the on-demand webinar, Dr. Cooper will take you through the workflow process of a single-unit, CAD/CAM produced resin nano ceramic crown from the dental office to the lab and back again-all without an impression or working model. 

He’ll make sure attendees walk away with a deep understanding of the technology that makes it possible, and the many benefits the digital scanning process can bring to your practice, your lab and your patients. Technologies used in this case include the 3M™ True Definition Scanner, laboratory design software and precision milling to deliver a final 3M™ ESPE™ Lava™ Ultimate Restorative crown, which was seated using the Trifecta Method from 3M ESPE.

Here’s a sneak peak at what you’ll learn if you register for this free webinar, and a breakdown of some of those benefits.

The digital, model-less workflow cuts down turnaround time.  Usually, it takes two weeks for a lab to complete a crown once they receive the impression from the dentist. Working without a model cuts that time to 24-48 hours, Dr. Cooper said. If you’re using traditional impressions, it’s usually 48-72 hours before the lab technician even gets a chance to look at the case.

Jamie Stover, CDT, General Manager at Ziemek Laboratories and his CAD team, worked with Dr. Cooper on the case and said this digital, model-less approach saved their lab days of work.

“We didn’t have to pick up an impression, disinfect, poor stone, fabricate the model or do anything manually to a model,” Stover said. “We didn’t have to scan a stone model into our design software or produce a CAD model to work on. We simply received the scan from Dr Cooper, designed the restoration, milled it, polished it, and delivered it ready for seating. According to Dr Cooper, the seat time was minimal, which means we have our design parameters dialed in. This process completely cuts out many fabrication steps and allowed us to produce this restoration more efficiently.”

Using digital impressions alone doesn’t save quite that much time, Stover said, but it does make the overall process more efficient and saves time in different areas throughout the process. The big time savings in this case came from the model-less approach.

A digital workflow improves dentist/lab communication. Sending a digital scan to the lab allows the dentist and technician to communicate more directly and promptly about the case, Dr. Cooper said. If there are any issues with the scan, those issues can be addressed right away-rather than a few days later.

With digital impressions, if you’re not happy with the scan it’s easy to re-take or go over an area you might have missed-unlike with traditional impressions. You can look at the prep on a large screen, and that makes it possible to see things you wouldn’t see with a traditional impression. You can view the scan before you send it to your lab and make sure margins, the bite and all other parameters are as they should be.

“I’m able to have a good solid look at the case before I send it out to the lab,” Dr. Cooper said. “I know I’m sending good information to the lab from the start.”

This improved communication makes the process more efficient, Stover said-something he’s learned after being involved in managing close to 40,000 cases from digital impressions at Ziemek Laboratories over the years. High-quality impressions mean fewer questions from the lab and less back and forth, another factor in reducing turnaround time, even if the case isn’t model-less.

You get a more accurate fit when you use digital impressions, and that means fewer remakes. You don’t have to worry about distortion or margin inaccuracy issues in digital impressions like you do with traditional impressions, and that enables the lab to create a crown with an accurate fit, Stover said. If there are any problems with the impression, the doctor can see it right away on his screen and make necessary adjustments before ever sending the scan to the lab.

“You have fewer adjustments. The contact points are spot on. Occlusion and bite are spot on,” Dr. Cooper said.  “I would say it cuts seating time in half, which is not a small thing at all. Crowns come back accurately, needing little to no adjustment at seating time.”

Fit issues and margin discrepancies are the most common reasons for remakes, Stover said, so eliminating the potential for these issues significantly cuts down on the time, money and aggravation that comes with re-makes.

“We had doctors jump on this technology years ago when it first launched and right from then we saw a dramatic decrease in remakes with digital impression cases.” Stover said. “Even with the learning curve that comes with a new process, we could see right off the bat that digital impressions would eventually replace traditional PVS impressions, and it would not be a matter of if but when.”

Digital impressions are more comfortable for the patient. Nobody likes to have “goop” in their mouth, and digital impressions eliminate that discomfort for the patient. Beyond that, it shortens prep time, shortens turnaround time and makes the patient more comfortable with the process. And if you’re using the model-less workflow, they can have their new crown in a few short days, or even sooner.

“I think it’s tolerated better by most patents, and you have the security of knowing you’re going to have a better fitting restoration coming back that’s more accurate,” Dr. Cooper said. “I tell my patients what I’m doing and it gives them greater peace of mind and great trust in me and the clinical team. Patients perceive real value in it.”

You’ll need to work with a top-notch lab, and that will show in the quality of restorations your patients receive. If you have a high-tech practice you have to work with a high-tech lab, so if you’re using digital impressions and a model-less workflow, you’re working with an experienced lab that’s on the leading edge of technology.

Working model-less is challenging and can prove to be very difficult for a lab that’s new to CAD/CAM, Stover said.  The most common result early on is restorations that require lots of adjustment at the seat appointment.  

An experienced digital lab that understands and can manage the challenges of working with the design software to establish correct design parameters without using a model can ensure you receive that accurate fitting crown you and your patients expect. The idea behind a model-less workflow is to save time and be more efficient-something that’s less likely to happen if you’re working with a lab that isn’t experienced with CAD/CAM technology.

But this digital workflow is where the field is headed, making it even more important to find the right high-tech lab to partner with, Dr. Cooper said, a lab that is focused on creating high-quality restorations and is enthusiastic about technology and what it can do for dentistry.  

A digital workflow gives you a competitive advantage. Whether you’re just interested in digital impressions or want to try a model-less workflow when it makes sense for a case you’re working on, your patients are going to notice that your practice is more high-tech than the one down the street. They’ll see you’ve invested in your practice and in their care, and that helps put them at ease, while also saving you time and money.

“As a dental office trying to distinguish itself form other practices, when we have the technology that offers all these benefits, patients perceive value in what we do and they refer other patients to our office,” Dr. Cooper said. “It gives us an edge in our local market place.”


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