Inside Dental Technology
An Interview with Dave Anable
Inside Dental Technology (IDT): Coming from a lengthy history in the dental industry, what are the most impactful changes you’ve seen in digital dentistry?
David Anable (DA): The digital era is making a significant impact on the dental profession and as a whole has been the driver of change in the industry. For laboratory owners and managers the impact has been an evolution beginning with such products and new production processes as Nobel Biocare’s Procera outsource production model, followed by 3M ESPE’s Lava™ in-house production model. These two early digital production processes were significant because they changed the way laboratories fabricated restorations and changed the materials offered.
On the clinical side, the introduction of intraoral scanning and its evolutionary progression continues to drive change regarding how digital data is captured.
Today, we see the largest impact of digital dentistry coming from significant improvements in laboratory-based milling machines. The large range of functionality allows the dental laboratory to increase productivity and profitability. What is next is yet to be determined, but it would appear the emerging frontier involves new millable materials and simplifying more complex cases.
IDT: What reasons would you give to laboratories that have not yet accepted digital dentistry to make the leap?
DA: Dental laboratories are faced with a new set of challenges every day from retaining trained and skilled technicians to competing in a marketplace that is more and more defined by price. Integrating digital technologies into production processes allows laboratories to offer clients the full range of new innovative materials rapidly being introduced to the market and remain price competitive while maintaining profitable margins. It also frees their highest value employees for the most complex and demanding cases. From a marketing perspective, the adoption of digital technologies, new materials, and workflow processes provides the laboratory with a continuum of reasons to re-engage their customers in discussions about these new
materials and processes.
IDT: Where can laboratories immediately realize ROI when they choose to invest in CAM milling technology?
DA: Currently, the fastest return on investment can be achieved in two areas. Traditionally, it has been with milling full contour zirconia crowns, and this product segment remains a high ROI opportunity because of the volume that can be produced in one milling session and the reduced handwork required to produce these restorations. More recently, products such as Sintron®, which is a millable chrome cobalt material, enable a laboratory to offer non-precious restorations at a very profitable price. This is proving to be a very valuable offering for laboratories already embracing it.
IDT: What should laboratories consider when researching CAD/CAM systems for purchase?
DA: In varying degrees of importance, there are four primary factors a laboratory should consider when researching a CAD/CAM system and supplier if considering purchasing a system. They are:
• An open file source system for access to a myriad complementary technologies and materials
• The service level offered by the manufacturer/seller for equipment and training
• The ability of the system to grow with the laboratory and offer additional products in the future
• Company focus: Is the company you are buying from committed to your success?
IDT: What exciting new product innovations does Amann Girrbach have on the horizon?
DA: AGA is constantly looking at new technologies to support the dental laboratory. The recently launched Sintron non-precious milling material is an indicator of our commitment to bring innovations to the dental laboratory industry. Our customers will be excited to know we are working hard on denture milling options and next generation materials like lithium silicates and composite reinforced ceramics.
IDT: How do you see Amann Girrbach America differentiating themselves from the competition?
DA: Foremost is our modular approach to innovation, which allows our customers to expand their existing CAD/CAM system in order to meet the needs of their customers versus having to replace their system with a next generation iteration. A second differentiating factor is that our CAD/CAM system offers an open architecture platform that allows our customers to seamlessly share files with the entire dental team with maximum efficiency and flexibility. A third consideration that separates AGA from its competitors is that our customers deal with us directly for all their needs—from sales and service to support and training. Finally, AGA as a company has always and will continue to focus exclusively on supporting the dental laboratory. Our customers benefit from having a partner that is knowledgeable and has a history of commitment to their future success.
Dave Anable is the US Regional Manager at Amann Girrbach America.