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    Compendium Supplement - Digital Dentistry 3M

    October 2010, Volume 31, Issue 4
    Published by AEGIS Communications


    Sneak Peek into the Digital Future

    Insights from a Leader in Innovation

    This is really an exciting time to be in oral care. As an industry, we are just beginning to incorporate and adopt digital technologies. When these are combined with innovative materials, we believe digital technology will improve productivity and offer a better experience for patients. While clinicians and technicians continue to improve practices and procedures, manufacturers-such as 3M-continue to innovate and develop the next generation of products, systems, and technologies to aid in this improvement of clinical outcomes.

    For the 5th consecutive year, 3M ESPE Dental Products has been recognized as the most innovative company in dentistry. 3M has created a new department, 3M Digital Oral Care, to focus specifically on the innovation, development, and commercialization of digital-related products that will revolutionize the next generation of dentistry.

    3M ESPE's digital transformation started with the Lava™ CAD/CAM system for dental laboratories and Lava Zirconia in 2002. Since then, dentists have placed millions of successful restorations, making Lava Crowns and Bridges the leading CAD/CAM-created restoration in the U.S. Hundreds of studies have confirmed that Lava Restorations perform as well as or better than traditional PFMs. Just as important, our own customers from milling centers such as Glidewell, Issaquah, and Stanley Okon have a success rate of over 99%, with chipping rates of less than 1%.

    Now these labs are using our newest innovation to combine material science and digital technology, the Lava Digital Veneering System. This revolutionary system digitally creates the porcelain veneer for a Lava Zirconia coping, giving dentists a full contour digital crown with intrinsic esthetics and consistent strength every time.

    In 2008, while dental labs were continuing to adopt digital technology, we were looking for the best way to bring digital precision to dentists. As the world leader in impression materials, we have a high standard for this conversion to digital technology, and we delivered the solution with the Lava Chairside Oral Scanner C.O.S. With this system, dentists are experiencing increased productivity. Although the system is still new, we recently received excellent results from a highly credible independent, non-profit dental education and product testing institute (Clinicians Report, April 2010). This group found that 100% of surveyed users felt the Lava C.O.S. is worthy of trial by their colleagues and 91% of respondents reported a decrease in time to seat the restorations. Their clinical trial resulted in 83% of multiple tooth restorations selected for cementation were those fabricated using the Lava C.O.S. system in comparison to restorations fabricated for the same cases from conventional VPS impression and stone die casts.

    We understand that the transition to digital systems can be difficult. Not many people like change, and they need someone they can trust to help guide them through it. At 3M ESPE, we are committed to leading the way. We have established a network of doctors who have already made this transformation and are willing to talk with doctors about how to approach it. Dentists can connect with this nationwide network of doctors simply by asking their local 3M ESPE representative.

    We believe digital technology should support the existing business and collaboration between dentists and their dental lab. To help further this, we are now selectively opening our Lava Network so that our Lava Milling Centers can receive data from dental labs with other CAD systems. These labs can also receive digital impressions from dentists with the Lava C.O.S.

    With over 50 years of collaborating with doctors to help improve dental procedures, there has never been a more exciting time in our company's history. Digital dentistry demands ongoing materials and technology development, while continuing to provide access to other materials and indications. At 3M ESPE, we embrace this complex challenge and believe it will ultimately mean easier, less complex, and more effective procedures for patients.

    3M's New Product Introduction (NPI) process facilitates the development of its newest technologies-the Lava Chairside Oral Scanner C.O.S. and Lava DVS Full Contour Digital Crowns-and gives dentists a glimpse into how the latest innovations were developed.

    About the Author
    Mark Farmer
    General Manager, 3M Digital Oral Care

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