We can see two sections in the midst of the global development, the analogue and the digital world. There are long-term stable trends (in particular: "the mega trend health") and the fast-beat "bits and bytes" of the digital dental technologies. Those dental technicians, who know how to bring these two together, profit the most. Retaining the overview and making targeted future decisions, visiting the International Dental Show, 12 to 16 March 2019, in Cologne is the best way to go about this.
Several innovation focuses in the digital technologies section are obvious: they were actually what made the processing of certain materials possible or economically viable in the first place. As such, crowns and bridges can comprise of zirconium oxide, lithium disilicate, zirconium oxide reinforced lithium disilicate, feldspar, hybrid ceramics, high-performance plastics or even alloys containing gold or non-precious alloys.
The laboratory is flexible regarding the choice of production options: Own production or outsourcing to the partner laboratory or independent central producer or industrial service provider; outsourcing the production or design and production. Even individual abutments can be ordered centrally or produced in-house today.
Whereas CAD/CAM methods have established themselves for fixed dentures for several years, the computer-controlled production of removable dentures is now also becoming increasingly possible - through to CAD/CAM produced total prostheses. Digital, particularly partly digital procedures will no doubt make this section significantly more interesting for the dental technician laboratories. In this way, total prostheses, individual total prostheses (upper or lower jaw), duplicate and immediate total prostheses can be made in the laboratory using computer-controlled processes, whilst the dentist continues to carry out his classic work steps as usual.
As with total prostheses, orthodontics is also considered to be an area that discovered the digital possibilities at a relatively late stage. Today, the laboratory optionally supports the practitioner by creating virtual set-ups. This enables the bracket positions to be laid down. Subsequently, the dental technician produces the respective equipment and the transfer tray via 3D printing.
This method opens up huge design possibilities to the laboratory: occlusal splints, drilling templates, individual spoons, orthodontic equipment or provisional crowns and bridges - all of these can be produced from 3D printing plastic. If this satisfies the demands for medical products of the Class IIa, a corresponding appliance (even prosthetic restorations!) can be implemented for printed short-term and long-term restorations. Furthermore, printing items made of alloy (i.e. cobalt-chrome) makes a wide area of indications accessible (i.e. "digital model cast prostheses").
"The laboratories are familiar with the patients' wishes: The treatment should be completed faster and still achieve aesthetic results," said Mark Stephen Pace, Chairman of the Association of the German Dental Industry. "To this end, the companies of the German dental industry are carrying out research and development in close cooperation with dental technicians. This is a cornerstone in our strategy for reinforcing our acknowledged global top position. In my opinion this will become even more dynamic in future. So, I am personally really looking forward to many inspiring discussions during the International Dental Show 2019."
IDS (International Dental Show) takes place in Cologne every two years and is organised by the GFDI Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Dental-Industrie mbH, the commercial enterprise of the Association of German Dental Manufacturers (VDDI) and is staged by Koelnmesse GmbH, Cologne.
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