Nov/Dec 2010
Volume 1, Issue 2

3M ESPE Hosts Digital Dentistry Summit 2010

Dentists and laboratory owners assemble at “think tank” meeting.

This year’s Digital Dentistry Summit brought together the “best minds in dentistry,” 3M ESPE General Manager Mark Farmer noted in his opening remarks. A welcome reception at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, kicked off the 2-day meeting on September 23. Thirteen general dentists and representatives from 13 laboratories around the country came to learn more about the latest advances in digital dentistry and to collaborate on solutions to help move the industry toward a new digital era.

During the morning session, Brian Schroder, DDS, explained to the group of dentists how the Lava™ C.O.S. intraoral scanner (3M ESPE, www.3mespe.com) improved the efficiency and accuracy of impression-taking in his operatory in San Antonio, Texas. He talked to the audience about how the technology enabled him to create precisely fitted restorations and improve patient experiences at his practice. A lively question and answer session followed Dr. Schroder’s presentation, after which attendees lined up to get individual hands-on experience and instruction on using Lava C.O.S. digital impression-scanning technology. In a concurrent session, laboratory owners had an open discussion with 3M ESPE representatives about solutions that would encourage more general dentists to pick up the pace in adopting digital impression technology.

After lunch, Don Albensi, CDT, owner of Albensi Laboratories in Irwin, Pennsylvania, and James C. Grant, DDS, a general dentist from Colorado Springs, Colorado, walked participants through the digital impression workflow in the operatory and the laboratory to demonstrate the benefits of digitally generated cases. Colin Norman, PhD, delivered the final presentation of the day, in which he previewed a new zirconia material that 3M ESPE plans to launch in the second quarter of 2011 for milling full-contour zirconia restorations. Dr. Norman, the director of digital materials for 3M ESPE, presented studies demonstrating the wear properties of the new material on enamel, which were described as similar to a veneering ceramic. He also showcased a new monolithic ceramic material for efficient 15-minute milling of full-contour inlays/onlays, veneers, crowns, and implant crowns. Set to launch in late 2011, the monolithic ceramic blocks will come in eight shades and four translucencies.

Summit attendees also heard about other digital advances, including software updates for the Lava C.O.S. that will reduce full-arch scan and process time to 30 seconds, automatically check the preparation for proper reduction, and correct scans that erroneously capture unintended data. “3M ESPE is uniquely positioned in the industry to take the analog and move it to digital,” Farmer said in his closing remarks.

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