Why “Being Digital” is the combination of human artistry and automated production

Dental Lab Products talks with Sarah Anders, COO of Ivoclar Vivadent, about new innovations and materials from the company.

How can labs navigate the new reality of the digital workflow? And how are manufacturers helping through education and new innovations? These are the questions that sit behind many of Ivoclar Vivadent's recent product and equipment announcements. We recently spoke to Sarah Anders, COO of Ivoclar Vivadent North America, about some of the new options from the company, how e.max continues to adapt to a changing market and why restorations deserve the "human touch."

01. Ivoclar Vivadent has announced some big new digital products this year. How does that fit in with the current priorities at Ivoclar? 

Our mission is to be the leader in materials and processes for quality esthetic dentistry. Material performance is often directly related to how that material is processed. For example, when we launched IPS Empress and then IPS e.max, we offered a Programat Pressing furnace that was ideally coordinated with the material. Similarly, as digital technologies evolve it is important to recognize that this equipment can impact the material performance. That is why we have a comprehensive protocol to validate new technologies with our materials.  

02. Some labs are worried that hand-made will soon be replaced by all machine. Do you see that happening in the lab?

This is a valid concern. For Ivoclar Vivadent, “Being Digital” is the combination of human artistry and automated production-creating optimal results for quality esthetic dentistry. Yes, machines can help productivity and consistency but we must never lose sight of the fact that we are replacing a patient’s anatomy and this deserves the human touch. 

03. How is Ivoclar Vivadent helping to transition labs from traditional to digital? 

It’s all about listening to the customers’ needs as they transition from traditional analog production to the digital workflow. We support both options so that labs can choose based on their needs. For us, the key is information and support. We offer an introduction to new technologies through local events and educate at basic training courses. When we deliver new equipment, we utilize white glove delivery service and have our Digital Specialist facilitate the installation. We offer comprehensive equipment and software support and offer back-up milling. We strive to facilitate a smooth transition to our digital technologies. 

04. What kind of products have you recently released to help with this transition? 

We look at the full digital workflow from equipment to materials to maximize results. Take the Zenotec Select Hybrid Milling Machine, for example. It is the most efficient and productive validated mill for e.max for the laboratory. We offer e.max CAD for Zenotec at a volume pricing that makes sense for our laboratory customers.  We also continue to evolve our e.max offering and are excited to announce the launch of IPS e.max MT for Zenotec. We are also releasing Zenostar MT Zirconia, a high translucency zirconia where the translucency is coordinated with e.max translucencies. This offers our laboratory customers a high translucency zirconia that can achieve the most popular vita shades with optimal esthetics. To further optimize digital materials, we are releasing IPS e.max Ceram Power Dentin powder. These are layering ceramics ideally coordinated with both the higher translucency e.max blocks and ingots as well as zirconia materials like Zenostar. The convenience of one highly esthetic layering ceramic for zirconia and IPS e.max helps drive efficiencies in the laboratory.

Product roundup: CAD/CAM software

05. What makes the new Zenostar options make sense for labs who are going digital? 

Our newly released Zenostar MT zirconia is formulated from specifically blended powders that balance the optical properties. Adding Zenostar MT to our full Zenostar range allows the laboratory a range of ceramics with highly esthetic optical properties. We will continue to expand our zirconia offerings to meet the needs of our laboratory customers.

Next page: How can e.max be integrated into a digital workflow?


06. How will e.max continue to adapt to a digital workflow? 

Since its initial launch in 2005, IPS e.max has continued to adapt to the market needs and customer requests. This ever-evolving material has grown in translucencies and expanded indications. This includes the availability of a bridge block and a block for fabricating custom designed implant abutments. Further, our Digital Press Design offers the option for laboratories to fabricate wax patterns coordinated with the state-of-the-art IPS e.max Multi Ingot

07. How can labs make sure they’re still getting great esthetics with a digital workflow? 

Labs should look for the ideal digital workflow with equipment, materials and accessory products. Optimal esthetics is born from a consistent workflow with well-coordinated products. We believe that Ivoclar Vivadent’s strong product offerings-with IPS e.max, Zenostar and Zenotec equipment-offer this. Further this is coupled with ongoing education programs, support and dentist and patient marketing materials.

Related: Behind the creation of IPS e.max Press Multi

08. How do you think Ivoclar Vivadent’s digital products and materials better position labs than other options on the market? 

We have always strived to partner with laboratories to help them grow their business for the long term by providing value-added products and support. The Esthetic Revolution with Empress changed dentistry and drove prescriptions from the dentist. e.max delivered the same prescription-driving branding and gave labs the first profitable monolithic metal free option to compete with offshore production and bilayered restorations. Today, four out of five dentists prescribe e.max. They choose e.max because it matters and, with over 100 million restorations worldwide, e.max offers digital fabrication options with proven success. Is it really worth the risk to try anything else?

Step-by-step: How to use e.max to achieve the final outcome patients desire

09. What does Ivoclar Vivadent have on the horizon that labs should be excited about? 

Our Clinical team drives e.max prescriptions and the coordinated clinical materials on every call. This is another way we work to grow the lab’s business. We continue to optimize our product portfolio on the fixed side with e.max and Zenostar high translucent options. We also previewed our Digital Denture in Chicago. It’s a digital denture solution that will efficiently link clinical prescriptions with optimized digital denture production. We are excited about the future that is ahead as we strive to create new materials for new technologies.

10. What else is there to add?

As an organization we are committed to adding value to the laboratory market place. Laboratories feel the pressure of a “commoditized market.” We are going to add value to the laboratory market. Everyday labs restore a patients’ smile, their health and their lifestyles. There is tremendous value in this. All too often, we hear that a material is selected because it’s “good enough.” We believe that being better is always best. Today, consumers are more aware than ever of what options they have and when given the option, patients choose e.max.