Inside Dental Technology
An Interview with Robert Ganley
Inside Dental Technology (IDT): Ivoclar Vivadent conducts business in more than 100 countries around the world. From this global perspective, what major shifts do you see taking place in dentistry that will continue to impact the dental laboratory market in the future both here and abroad?
Robert Ganley (RG): The recognition that oral health is fundamentally linked to an individual’s overall health, self-esteem, and success has been established worldwide. This recognition is resulting in a renewed commitment to oral health, and with this commitment comes growth for the profession. We are experiencing increases in crown-and-bridge restorations, continued confidence in and preference for all-ceramic restorations, ongoing development and acceptance of digital technologies (such as CAD/CAM), and greater varieties of implant-supported therapies. Specific segments of the dental market that are demonstrating growth are the development and use of innovative all-ceramic materials, materials for minimally invasive restorative procedures, and implant prosthetics.
Due to their proven durability and excellent esthetics—and spurred on by patient demand—all-ceramic restorations have become and will continue to be the desired material for indirect restorative dentistry. Implant therapy is also a growing sector. By providing reliable procedures and predictable results thus far, implant therapy—including implant-supported dentures and patient-specific all-ceramic implant abutments—has become an area of interest among those seeking more esthetic, functional, and durable implant options.
In addition, the significance of CAD/CAM technologpy in the success of dental treatments is beginning to shift oral health treatment toward digital technology. Today’s technology will continue to evolve and develop more innovative and user-friendly techniques and materials, resulting in faster and more efficient procedures. These will be ongoing trends, but the dental industry will continue to grow according to patients’ oral health concerns and treatment needs.
IDT: What major challenges face the laboratory industry in the United States going forward, and how can laboratories best prepare their businesses to meet these challenges?
RG: Dental laboratories today are successfully keeping current on the new materials, procedures, and technologies that are continuously being introduced. With their expertise and skill, the challenges of mastering new and innovative materials and techniques are easily met. Regardless of the material or the method, dental technicians and ceramists are the material experts and artisans partnering with dentists to create dependable, functional, and esthetic restorations.
In addition, laboratories are effectively responding to the shift toward digital dentistry. The advantages of CAD/CAM technology—including its speed, efficiency, and ease-of-use—have encouraged its expanded applications in the dental field. Understanding its benefits, laboratory technicians are on board, developing team relationships that include comprehensive communication for the benefit of the patient.
IDT: The IPS e.max® family of ceramics has been an extraordinarily successful brand for Ivoclar Vivadent as well as for the dentists and laboratories prescribing and fabricating restorations with these materials. So, what’s next? How do you keep improving e.max when the bar is so high? What types of new ceramic material innovations can the laboratory industry expect to see coming from manufacturers in the future?
RG: The success of the IPS e.max system is due to the fact that it provides improved performance and superior esthetics while boosting productivity. The combination of enhanced strength and esthetics makes the material predictable, reliable, and beautiful, winning the satisfaction of both the patient and dentist.
Recently we have launched two new components of the IPS e.max system. The first component is CAD-On, which is a bridge system consisting of two parts—a zirconium-oxide framework and a lithium-disilicate veneer—both manufactured with IPS e.max materials. The second component is our new IPS e.max Press Abutment Solution, which allows the fabrication of implant-supported hybrid restorations by combining a titanium base with a pressed lithium-disilicate glass-ceramic. Stay tuned—we have more to come.
IDT: Digital dentistry—from CT and intraoral impression scanning in the operatory to automated output in the laboratory—is certainly still in its infancy, although this is less so in terms of its adoption by laboratories than by dentists. What evolutions need to take place in this arena to make it a more valued investment for the dental team?
RG: A differentiating factor regarding digital dentistry is its singular ability to evolve. Due to a growing awareness of the advantages of enhanced digital dental systems, dentists and technicians are increasingly modernizing their practices and laboratories by incorporating digital technologies to improve patient treatment and productivity. Going forward, recognition of the value of investing in the numerous revolutionary capabilities of CAD/CAM technology will likely increase the number of dentists and laboratories seeking the benefits it offers them and their patients.
Robert A. Ganley is the CEO of Ivoclar Vivadent.