An Interview with Anton Woolf
Inside Dental Technology (IDT): What challenges has the current dental industry environment created for dental laboratories?
Anton Woolf (AW): It is clear that our industry is going through a monumental shift. The shift is best characterized not as a challenge, but rather as opportunities for our dental laboratory partners. A major part of this monumental shift is associated with the advent and acceptance of new digital technologies. These technologies provide us all with the opportunity to improve the level of consistency, efficiency, support, and intimacy in which we deliver our products and services. We believe the role of the dental laboratory becomes even more important and integral to the success of the dental restoration. The main opportunity we see for dental laboratories is to increase “value-added” services to their clients by embracing the digital workflow. Digital technology will give laboratories increased consistency, lower cost structure, broader range of products, and more transparency and communication with their clients. These enhancements can only be implemented through strong leadership and intimately aligned partnerships.
IDT: What should a laboratory owner look for when selecting a partner for sourcing new technology and digital solutions?
AW: We have all learned that we can’t do everything ourselves. It is even more important in today’s marketplace where labs have the opportunity to significantly increase their product range and expertise. An open digital scanner gives a lab access to virtually all product offerings and in-depth expertise. A lab must choose very carefully when selecting a partner to source new technology. “Partner” is a very apt word, in that this company must genuinely be an integral part of the laboratory’s workflow. Find a company that you have a close, personal relationship with and that can provide you the most consistent products; a company you can call and speak with trained, experienced technical and service personnel. Then trust them to do this again and again—it is your reputation that is on the line with your dentist.
IDT: Argen is a company with a rich history in alloys. How do alloys play a role in digital dentistry?
AW: Alloys are still a significant part of restorative prescriptions and may offer a superior option in many clinical cases. Our vision of digital dentistry is to allow the dentist and dental lab to choose any material they believe will be the best clinical option for the patient. The Argen Digital Center offers just this solution. A dental laboratory can now have a metal restoration easily incorporated into their daily laboratory production. Argen Digital can provide High Noble, Noble, and Base metal frameworks through SLM and Digital Precious Metals (DPM) technologies, a full range of full gold crowns, and Captek™ substructures.
IDT: Where do you feel alloys will fit into future offerings?
AW: PFM restorations have been the standard of care for many decades in our industry. It is difficult to argue the long-term performance of alloy based crowns and bridges. Today’s trend toward new materials that are designed for automated manufacturing will not exclude alloy supported restorations. We feel that alloys play a very important role to the ultimate success of certain restorations and provide solutions that other materials potentially cannot. Thanks to advancements in manufacturing technologies in conjunction with unique metal-based materials, alloy-based restorations have become more consistent, more predictable, and more economical.
IDT: What are some of the unique digital offerings from Argen that could help laboratories grow their business?
AW: Our vision is to supply dental laboratories with products that can expand their current client base. We feel that the more product options a dental lab can offer their clients, the better the chance of growing their accounts. We offer the industry’s only Noble SLM substructures that allow labs to purchase accurate and predictable Noble units at a flat fee, regardless of weight. We also offer the most popular dental alloys in the world, including Euro, Y+, and NobleBond™. Captek™, however, is probably our most exciting unique offering and is the most prescribed PFM solution from dentists. Now any lab with an open scanner or Sirona scanner can receive a flat-priced, high noble coping when a dentist requests it. Digital Captek enables existing Captek-Certified labs to completely control labor time and reduce inventory costs.
IDT: How does a laboratory get started with Digital Captek?
AW: If a laboratory was not utilizing Captek before, they can quickly and easily get started offering Digital Captek for a very low cost. Three levels of Digital Captek kits are available and all training is completed online and is simple and straight-forward.All a laboratory needs to do is scan a die from any open scanner or Sirona scanner, and Argen Digital Center will fabricate a Captek coping from the reinforced nano-materials.No need for design work—all the copings are standardized with a new reinforced design that is proven strong and stable.Digital Captek could be that product offering for a laboratory that keeps an existing accounthappy or earns a new one.At the end of the day there are few products that can nurture the doctor relationship like Captek.
The opportunities that new technology provides labs will be worth the investment.Argen is intensely committed to partnering with dental labs to provide digital solutions for their clients.
Anton Woolf is the CEO of The Argen Corporation in San Diego, California.