February 2015
Volume 6, Issue 2

Increase Revenue by Delivering a Digital Denture in Half the Time

Heraeus Kulzer’s Pala Digital Denture system addresses one of the last frontiers of digital dentistry.

The full arch removable denture process is just the beginning of digital technology in the removable space, says Heraeus Kulzer President Chris Holden.

“We foresee further development into partials and flexible partials, and bar-retained dentures,” Holden says. “Our goal is to automate every aspect of the process, from receiving a digital edentulous impression from intraoral scanners or in-office scanners, to digitally modeling and articulating the case, and finally 3D printing the final denture. We aim to provide the best, strongest, and most hygienic product on the market for laboratories to be able to provide their clients. As we continue to expand down this digital path of process automation, the laboratory community will expand their businesses and create efficiencies not previously seen in removables.”

The process is unique. Heraeus Kulzer 3D prints the try-in and then uses a proprietary injection process for the final denture. The process does not include milling, due to the time and costs involved.

“Additionally, we feel milling causes problems in the final stage of teeth bonding,” Holden says. “Our Pala promise is to deliver a denture with greater accuracy, better fit, and fewer patient visits, all leading to higher profitability for the dental laboratory and the dentist.”

Heraeus Kulzer invites all dental laboratories to work with them and become Pala Laboratory Partners.

“We recognize the important role the dental laboratory plays in the removable arena and our business model reflects this recognition and enables more opportunities and capabilities for the laboratory community,” Holden says.

The laboratory will continue to be the main point of contact and liaison with the dentist. Laboratories have built their relationships with their clients, and Heraeus Kulzer values this relationship.

“We don’t want to disrupt what they have built,” Holden says. “The laboratory will be the main point of contact for the dentist and will relay information to our design center.”

Quality control is another important aspect involving the laboratory. The Pala promise is to provide the highest quality product and denture, so that each laboratory can be proud of the product they deliver and give it their stamp of approval.

Scanning also involves the laboratory. Each impression that comes into the laboratory for a Pala Digital Denture case needs to be scanned and converted into an .STL file. Once the file is scanned, it can be uploaded to the Pala Digital Denture portal.

“From there we are digitally modeling and articulating the denture through our proprietary software,” Holden says. “Once the denture is modeled we are printing the try-in on a 3D printer. That try-in is sent to the laboratory for review and passed along to the client. Once the try-in is approved, we process the final. As far as the final process, portions of the process are proprietary. But what I can share is that we use a proprietary injection process to convert our 3D printed try-in to the final denture.”

Heraeus Kulzer also plans to provide both dentists and dental laboratory professionals with extensive training and education on Pala Digital Denture protocols to ensure success.

“We have an extensive partnership program when you sign on to become a Pala Laboratory Partner,” Holden says. “It consists of in-office and in-laboratory training by our certified territory managers. We also will be hosting regional educational events throughout the year in partnership with our laboratories, as well as webinars. We know and understand that this is a shift for the industry, and we are fully committed to providing our partners with the best protocols and education to make this advancement in removable dentures successful.”

The end result is that the digital denture process will revolutionize the removable market as well as the dental laboratory that offers removable services.

“As a global company, we understand the ups and downs of the economy,” Holden says. “Today, dental professionals require solutions that address their financial needs equally as much as they address their clinical and technical requirements. To have relevance in the dental industry, we need to provide solutions that help drive practice growth while lowering the staggering costs of delivering quality care.”

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