Inside Dental Technology
Delivering Excellent Products with a Personal Touch
Zirkonzahn’s milling machines allow laboratories to combine artistry and technology for masterful dental work
Andrew Rusinowski, MDT has always put serious thought into what he wanted to do with his life, even at a very young age. He had a young, curious mind that loved dabbling both in the sciences and in the arts, and would become easily bored by routine tasks and simplicity. It was not until Rusinowski was 16 and interned at a dental laboratory in Poland that all the intellectual and artistic pursuits that he had grown to appreciate came together in a single profession. “I was excited because this industry brings together so many different disciplines from chemistry, material science, and biology to elements of artistry in order to produce one single product,” says Rusinowski. “The complexity of the profession intrigued me and still does to this day. It is a continuous learning process.” He immediately enrolled in a local two-year dental technology program. Shortly after graduating, he seized an opportunity to come to the United States to work in a friend-of-a-friend’s laboratory.
Once in the United States, he quickly discovered that entry-level laboratory technicians are unable to make a living wage, so he began working for a second laboratory at night to make ends meet. Soon, boredom set in as Rusinowski found himself glued to the waxing or grinding bench with little room to advance in the profession or to further develop his technical skills. As such, he began to move around the industry, working in different laboratories to earn more money, become more proficient at his craft, and learn from others.
In 1997 Rusinowski opened Smiledent Dental Studio, now located in Mount Kisco, New York. Unlike his previous experience in production-oriented laboratories, Rusinowski wanted to establish a team-based approach to restorative dentistry for his premium-quality crown and bridge business. His customer-focused philosophy called for developing close relationships with his client base and providing them with exceptional personalized service. “I wanted to create for my clients an interactive working experience akin to having an in-office laboratory, but from an outside business, an option not practical for smaller dental offices,” says Rusinowski.
Rusinowski found a perfect opportunity for pursuing his passion to learn and grow in New York University at the Master Dental Technician program. It was there that he started to develop relationships with the most advanced and ambitious professionals in the dental technology field.
Rusinowski was also passionate about computer technology and the role it is playing in shaping our personal and professional lives. “When the first computer-aided technology was introduced to the dental laboratory profession in the early 2000s, I was thrilled because I could envision the precision and accuracy this could bring to our industry,” he says. However, using these first iterations of the technology, there were select applications that Rusinowski could commit to a digital workflow and still be satisfied with the case outcome. In the meantime, he purchased a 3Shape scanner and he and his team experimented with outsourcing restorations to evaluate the maturity of the technology and its ability to deliver the precision products their clients demanded. But outsourcing as a business model did not fit with his laboratory’s mission of personalized service. “I want to control the products I deliver to my clients from start to finish,” says Rusinowski. What he needed was a machine and a system that had the flexibility of open architecture and was capable of milling a variety of materials and applications, including large, complex implant bridges.
He had purchased one of the early copy-mill machines from Zirkonzahn, a company that impressed him with their personalized service locally and with the concern and interest he received from the company’s owner, Enrico Steger. It was a close, personal relationship philosophy that matched Rusinowski’s approach to his customers. He also had become a very vocal advocate of the Prettau® zirconia implant bridge, which he could copy mill with the system. Copy-milling such a large framework could be tedious, however, with no CAD program on the market that supported the design of the Prettau, Rusinowski had no other choice but to copy mill. Nevertheless, the ability to deliver full arch milled zirconia implant bridge cases established Smiledent’s reputation and helped the business differentiate itself from the competition.
In the meantime he closely watched developments in the CAD/CAM market for machines with the capability to produce the types of cases he was committed to manufacturing. “Most systems on the market concentrated on producing the more simplistic crown and bridge cases,” says Rusinowski. “We are a small laboratory and to make this large capital investment, I needed a system that could provide more universal applications and one that was open architecture which is essential for sharing files among different mills if I needed to outsource a product. For smaller laboratories like mine, closed systems just don’t make economic sense because they lock us into limited products, materials, and applications.” When Zirkonzahn introduced the open-architecture M5 5-axis CAD/CAM system to the market, Rusinowski was struck by its robust versatility and immediately made it his technology of choice.
In the years hence, Smiledent’s reputation as a business that can deliver highly complex milled fixed implant cases has grown. This has attracted high-end clientele and specialists who not only require sophisticated technology, but also rely on the laboratory’s highly skilled team of technicians who can communicate on a higher clinical level. “CAD/CAM technology opens up completely new ways of communicating with clients. We can send our clients screen shots of design issues and use GoToMeeting, Skype, or other Internet communication protocols to discuss the case while we all are viewing the case in three dimensions,” explains Rusinowski. It also brings a level of transparency to cases that Rusinowski believes gives his clinicians a high level of confidence to each restoration, which in turn benefits the patient. It also helps expand the restorative portfolio of products that his clients can offer to patients, which is a huge benefit.
As he looks to the future, Rusinowski believes that dental technology is about to experience massive change. Just as computer technology has revolutionized people’s personal lives, computer technology promises to transform the laboratory industry, eliminating the need for waxing, casting, and maybe even eventually models. The transformation will call for a new breed of dental technician, one that can make the transition from analog to digital, visualizing their work in the third dimension. “We are at the brink of a revolution in this industry and I want to be one of the leaders of change,” says Rusinowski. “The size of my laboratory and the versatile set of skills among my team members makes us perfectly positioned to adapt to the changes and continue to offer the best available products to our clients.”
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.
CAD/CAM System 5-TEC
The CAD/CAM System 5-TEC by Zirkonzahn was designed to satisfy all of the dental technician’s needs. The 5+1-axis simultaneous milling unit comes with a wide range of applications, from simple copings to complete dentures. It delivers high precision and quality, is suitable for various materials, and is modularly constructed, making the milling unit completely upgradable to meet any of the technician’s needs (e.g. wet processing). The CAD/CAM System 5-TEC’s upgradability also ensures maximum safety for the future. The complete system is ideal for laboratories looking for state-of-the-art devices at an unmatched value.
For more information, contact:
Zirkonzahn USA Inc