Sirona: Putting Dentists in Control by Continually Advancing CAD/CAM Technology
According to Ingo Zimmer, Sirona Dental’s Director of Clinical CAD/CAM, the CAD/CAM technology his company introduced some 28 years ago has profoundly impacted dental practice for both patients and practitioners around the world.
A case in point that was once unimaginable is what he calls the “single-visit appointment,” during which a patient need not weeks or even days for a new smile, but can walk out of the dentist’s office in less than 2 hours with a beautiful restoration created right there in the office by a doctor using CEREC technology.
“This is something truly unique and that changes the patient’s mind,” Zimmer explains, noting that a recent study found that patients who received such CEREC treatment are far more willing to refer their CEREC dentist to their friends and families. This, of course, has a significant impact on the practices benefitting from their patients’ satisfaction and referrals.
Zimmer also notes that what dentists who embrace the technology like best is the control it gives them over the outcome by putting them in control at every stage of the restorative process. This, in turn, gives them confidence that they can offer their patients the best treatment options based on the patient’s needs.
A major obstacle to wider adoption of CAD/CAM technology, Zimmer observes, may be a lack of familiarity with the results or a belief that the old ways are best. “Doctors typically stick to tried and true methods,” he comments. “Many don’t realize that the ‘traditional’ restorations they receive from their labs may, in fact, be produced by CAD/CAM—that the labs are scanning the impressions they receive and milling the restorations from the digital data thus generated.”
All components of the CEREC portfolio can be flexibly combined to suit any clinician’s needs. Based on its many years of experience, Sirona has compiled several configuration packages to simplify the decision-making process for the clinician, depending on hardware and software features needed.
Zimmer regards the move to CAD/CAM—or at least to the digitization of oral scanning—as the next logical move in “the digital waterfall” that began with the digitization of patient information. Sirona, he says, is happy to introduce doctors to the technology in their offices, and he maintains that doctors who want to “test the water” can start with the DI (digital impressioning) stage. “They can see the benefits in terms of patient comfort and ease of communication by taking a digital impression and sending it through a Sirona web portal to the lab. The lab can download and evaluate that scan while the patient is still available.”
For the CAD/CAM novice, seeing is believing, Zimmer points out. “We always encourage doctors to get their hands on the units. Once they finally see it, it changes their minds.”
Zimmer describes numerous sources of training and information for doctors who purchase CEREC systems, which are available exclusively through Patterson Dental. “We offer free education from the best dentists in the US through a huge network of 75 training centers around the United States, where there is onsite, hands-on training. There is also advanced training from third-party vendors, including www.cerecdoctors.com, CERECOLOGY, and CADSTAR CEREC Learning Center, that cover every possibility in the CAD/CAM theater.”
As Zimmer emphasizes, Sirona is committed to continued research and development, on which it has spent more than $250 million in the past 5 years alone. A clear demonstration of that commitment, he says, is the company’s Center of Innovation, where more than 250 engineers and scientists work developing new products at Sirona’s German headquarters.
With nearly three decades of CAD/CAM experience, Sirona is chockfull of innovative digital dentistry solutions for clinicians looking to advance their practice.
Sirona Dental, Inc.
4835 Sirona Dr, Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28273