Inside Dental Technology
May 2013, Volume 4, Issue 5
Published by AEGIS Communications
Restorations In Rhythm and On Time
Recapturing lost business and realizing the shift to digital with Jensen Dental
For Scott Raab, CDT, a lab owner for over 30 years, the 2013 transition to a digital workflow with Jensen Dental was as natural as it was profitable. Scott has been drumming professionally ( www.tidalwaveband.com) for almost as long as he has been creating high-end restorations, and the parallels between the two were obvious to him—an assortment of equipment, working in unison at the hands of a conductor, to create a beautiful result. Beyond the connection between drumming and dental technology, Raab has always been destined for a career in the dental industry. Dentistry has preoccupied generations of the Raab family in all that they do. His father and his three uncles were all dentists, his sister is a hygienist, his younger brother is a pedodontist, and his older brother, who followed in the father’s footsteps, is a dentist and eventually took over Raab’s father’s practice when he retired. The third generation, Raab’s son, is currently enrolled as an undergraduate at Temple University with aspirations of going to dental school. It was only natural, then, that the final team member added to this consortium of dental professionals would be a dental technologist.
Ensconced in one section of the building his father built in Ocean City, New Jersey, to house the family dental practice, Raab’s high-end, full-service Natural Art Dental Lab is furnished with Freuding workstations that are each outfitted with a microscope. The seven technicians employed by Natural Art Dental Laboratory ( www.naturalartdentallab.com) must work under magnification in order to pass the scrutiny of Raab who carefully inspects each crown, bridge, veneer, or denture to ensure it meets his standards before it leaves the building for delivery.
Raab is not only demanding of those who work for him but also admits he is hard on himself, always rethinking a case to determine if there was something more he could have done to have achieved an even better outcome for the patient. Patients are Raab’s passion and, unlike many in the industry, he is fortunate to have the opportunity to see much of the work that his laboratory produces once seated in the mouth or interact with patients prior to work beginning when they come to the laboratory operatory for a custom shade.
When Raab opened his laboratory 30 years ago, 90% of the work prescribed by his clients was high noble based porcelain-fused-to-metals (PFMs). For those cosmetically driven all-ceramic cases, Raab invested in the IPS Empress® system and then years later in IPS e.max® Press. And although he was witnessing the progressive transition of the industry to digitally manufactured products when he attended the Chicago Midwinter meeting each year, Raab was resistant to the changeover, viewing the technology as only a low-end economy, high volume production solution, not a business strategy in line with the mission of his laboratory.
When the recession hit and gold prices skyrocketed, the volume of cases coming into the laboratory decreased and those cases that were coming into the laboratory had switched from high noble to semi-precious. It was not until he went to visit one of his long-standing accounts to discuss why the caseload coming from the practice had dropped off so dramatically that Raab finally met the reality. Sitting on the counter were 25 to 30 case boxes delivered from a well-known large production laboratory, all full-contour or layered zirconia restorations. And although Raab did offer zirconia-based services, the cost of sending models to a production facility for design and milling of zirconia full-contour crowns, copings, and substructures for layering hiked his selling price to a level no longer competitive in the market. “This was a reality wake-up call,” said Raab. “Now I understood why the work coming from by clients was getting thinner and thinner. It was going to digital production laboratories. I knew then it was time for change.”
Determined to find a digital solution, Raab began researching the different digital options on the market. It became clear early on that a complete in-house CAD/CAM solution would give him the total control he wanted to exercise over the cases he was producing. The next step was to find a CAD/CAM system that supported the high-end esthetics he demanded of his business, one that complemented his current product lineup, and a system that provided continuous access to the rapidly changing landscape of new materials and restorative options. He also knew that he needed a manufacturing partner that he could rely on for best-in-class technical service and support. He had dealt with most of the major companies in the market, but only one had a complete system and met all these criteria—Jensen Dental.
“I am so particular about the anatomy and spot-on shades of the restorations leaving the laboratory that my biggest fear launching into digital production was that I couldn’t produce the same highly esthetic restorations that I expect of my business and that my clients expect of my laboratory,” said Raab. “Now I see how unfounded my fear was. Everything I produce using the Preciso digital process still maintains my own custom, personal style and high-end esthetics of our conventionally fabricated restorations.”
What has surprised Raab the most is how easy it was to recapture the zirconia-based business that he had previously lost and the level of new business from the five new accounts the system brought immediately into his laboratory. In a short amount of time business for just zirconia-based restorations increased 30%, which now has him looking to hire another employee to help with the scanning process. “What I love most about working virtually on cases, is that I don’t have to worry about something going wrong with a case and having to start from scratch,” said Raab. “Using the S200 scanner with Lava™ Design 7 software, the ability to virtually design a zirconia full-contour crown, coping, or custom implant abutment for milling and wax patterns for pressed full-contour, all-ceramic restorations or even veneer wax patterns takes minutes not hours. My labor costs are cut in half, my production level has increased, and I’m producing day-after-day a more consistent product that my clients recognize as better fitting.” To ensure his Lava Plus and Jensen HT full-contour restorations milled on his M200 Mill have his signature style, Raab cuts in additional anatomy post-mill and, once the crown is sintered, uses special mixtures he has developed of the Lava Plus Liquid stains to give the restorations the high-quality esthetic look he demands.
It is only been three months since Raab transitioned his technical skills from a wax pot to a mouse and computer screen. “It took me a long time to take my business in this direction,” said Raab. “But now that I have adopted the digital workflow concept, I’m excited about the future of this industry. This is where I need to be for my business, my clients, and especially for the patients. There is no looking back, only forward.”
Disclaimer: The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dental Technology.
Preciso S200 Scanner
The Preciso S200 Scanner is a precise, high quality dental scanner that is your gateway to innovative materials including 3M ESPE’s Lava™ Plus High Translucency Zirconia and Lava™ Ultimate Restorative, as well as Jensen Digital Consumables including Jensen HT Zirconia, Wax, and PMMA. The Preciso S200 is powered by either Lava Design 7 or the all new Preciso CAD, providing laboratories with an intuitive workflow and modular functionality making it easy to integrate into your laboratory, no matter how much or how little digital you use. The Preciso S200 delivers high performance and unparalleled accuracy, scanning up to 10 single dies in less than 2.5 minutes with full-arch scan capability all at an affordable price point.
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