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Ryan Hamm is the former Editorial Director for Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics.
With the recent announcement that Straumann had teamed up with 3Shape and 3M ESPE to offer their CARES system to a wider user set, a system that had previously been fairly closed is now available to a larger user base than ever.
With the recent announcement that Straumann had teamed up with 3Shape and 3M ESPE to offer their CARES system to a wider user set, a system that had previously been fairly closed is now available to a larger user base than ever. To learn more about this shift-and what it will mean for labs-we spoke with Jorge Pages, the Senior Marketing Manager of Digital Solutions at Straumann. Pages told us about his role in development of Connectivity options, how it will move the lab industry forward and how it allows labs and doctors to work with their preferred partners.
Q: Straumann has emphasized a theme of “connectivity” lately with its CARES solutions. Can you explain how connectivity fits into the CARES workflow?
A: CARES workflow was originally a closed system. Our CARES scanner and software are used to design patient specific abutments, copings and crowns. Those projects are sent to our centralized milling facility, for original Straumann customized abutments. In the past, the CARES system was the only one that allowed this access.
Last September, we connected Dental Wings to our milling center. In April 2014, we launched connectivity for 3Shape Dental System labs. With those moves, we’ve exponentially increased the number of labs with access to Straumann’s centralized milling.
Q: What made Straumann adopt that strategy?
A: We realized we were preaching the message of original on original, but we had a large group of laboratories without access. In order to live up to that commitment, it was clear that we needed to expand access.
It’s a matter of choices-giving the doctor access to our original implant to abutment connection through the lab of their choice. We now cover the lion’s share of the digital labs in the country that want to use our original customized components.
Q: What were you hearing that led Straumann to emphasize connectivity?
A: As an example, a Straumann dental territory manager recommends three labs in the area that have invested in our scanner. If the doctor prefers to work with a different lab that provides the service and esthetics he likes, the rep is put in the position of trying to pull him away from that relationship. Ideally, with access to so many new labs, this example will occur much less frequently.
It makes it an easier transition for the doctor, and it makes the lab happy. For me, this creates a much easier path to our goal of providing original components and superior outcomes for the patient. I want to point out that Straumann also has a service called Scan & Shape so that even non-digital labs have access to our customized abutments.
Q: What are you hearing from labs on this?
A: Our tech support line is ringing off the hook! We’re actually concerned about keeping up our usually high service level but this is just temporary and in my mind, a good problem to have! I believe our efforts have paid off, meaning the market understands original on original is the best choice for the patient. Labs no longer have to make an additional investment to satisfy the demand for original customized abutments.
Q: What other types of “connectivity” will Straumann be highlighting in 2014 and into 2015?
A: Earlier this month, we announced connectivity from 3M True Definition Intraoral Scanners to our CARES visual software. 3M True Definition owners perform an intraoral impression, send the digital file to our CARES lab scanner for the design of a customized restoration. The Straumann Mono Scanbodies are used by the clinician during the scan-it accurately captures the position and implant platform. This connection is exclusive to CARES Scanner labs. The lab can order a high-quality model from MediTECH to complete the restoration.
Q: How will connectivity further the digitization of the dental lab industry?
A: We’re a very strong player in the implant market and we are committed to the digital workflow, as are implant companies like Nobel Biocare among others. I believe this commitment from the stronger players in the industry will pull everybody else along whether it’s through investment in digital technology or making use of the many services that are available, like our Scan & Shape service.