Heraeus Kulzer, Dental Wings Collaboration Helping Bring Digital Impressions to the Masses
Conventional wisdom says that traditional impression-taking will eventually be completely displaced by digital impressions using intraoral scanners. Lesley Melvin, Senior Product Manager, Heraeus Kulzer, LLC (HK), certainly recognizes the significant advantages digital impressions offer dentists and their laboratories. These include the ability to evaluate the impressions carefully with magnification and transmit them electronically to the laboratory for verification of their suitability for restoration completion—all while the patient is still in the chair. However, these benefits notwithstanding, she and Steven Touchie, Vice President, Marketing, of Dental Wings, say an overwhelming majority of dentists continue to use the same trusted and familiar impressioning materials and techniques despite their desire to expedite the laboratory process and reduce any patient inconvenience associated with some conventional impression materials.
Fortunately, say Melvin and Touchie, a collaboration between their two companies now offers dentists the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of digital impressions while continuing to use traditional methods. Thanks to a type of “best of both worlds” technology using two complementary products—a scanner from Dental Wings and the Flexitime® line of polyvinylsiloxane (PVS) impression materials from HK—dentists can enter the digital workflow without the need to master a learning curve or sacrifice quality, they say.
“Flexitime Fast and Scan is a state-of-the-art powder-free impression material that delivers exceptional fit, patient comfort, and product toughness while allowing practices to avoid the huge investment required by CAD/CAM systems and stand-alone intraoral scanners,” says Melvin. This material, she explains, was developed and tested based on an exceptionally rigorous research and development program and more than 10 years of market experience. “Its balance of clinically critical properties such as dimensional accuracy, detail reproduction, scannability, and hydrophilicity allows for exceptionally low contact angles and the most precise fit possible,” she asserts.
Touchie agrees that the optical properties of Flexitime Fast and Scan—developed by engineers at HK with input from Dental Wings engineers—make it possible for Dental Wings’ iSeries Impression scanner to deliver high-fidelity scans. “The problem with some impression materials is that they’re too shiny or their color is too dark,” Touchie comments. “They are not really optimized for laser scanning. This material has all the properties of the best impression materials, so it handles and flows like those materials, but its chemistry is tweaked to be optically optimized.”
The iSeries Impression scanner, which Touchie emphasizes is easy to use, allows anyone on the dental team to quickly digitize traditional impressions. The impression is clamped into a compartment inside the scanning unit, the door is closed, and a button is pressed to initiate the scan, he explains. “In 5 minutes, the scan of the prep, prep arch, and articulation appears on screen. The dentist can review it to ascertain that the margins are good and that there is no distortion—then click a button to send automatically to the lab.”
Laboratories, in particular, Touchie says, benefit from “the magic of this workflow.” He explains: “It eliminates the bottleneck that plagues labs’ plaster model room when the courier delivers a load of case boxes filled with impressions for which models must be poured up to get them into production. With this scanner, models trickle in all day.”
Melvin and Touchie call the two companies’ collaborative effort “a complementary technology to intraoral scanning.” They expect the popularity of intraoral scanning for impressions to grow, but believe it will never completely replace traditional methods. “Intraoral scanning, as the technology exists today, can do a portion of the case requirement,” says Touchie.
Both Touchie and Melvin see this product combination as one that is uniquely adapted to the reality of dental practice. “Dentists want to enjoy benefits of a digital workflow, but they are not ready to abandon traditional impressioning methods,” Melvin observes. Touchie adds, “This approach allows the overwhelming majority of dentists to enter the digital workflow and enjoy the efficiencies it offers, including communication with specialists and labs and instant feedback on impressions taken with PVS materials that are specifically designed to be accurately digitized.”
Heraeus Kulzer, LLC
300 Heraeus Way
South Bend, IN 46614