Precise Vision Helps Virginia Technicians Find Niche
Owners attribute high-end work partly to Zirkonzahn’s premium equipment
Shared commitment to high standards brought together the owners of Interchrome Dental Lab. Two of the owners, brothers Eddi and Benni von Schlichting, emigrated from South Africa to the US with the goal of owning a dental laboratory, but they waited several years for the right situation. The third owner, James Forgeng, also was searching for a high-end, artistically minded laboratory early in his career.
The three CDTs finally ended up together at Interchrome, a high-end laboratory in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and in its sixth year, the business is thriving in a challenging industry.
“We strive to be a boutique laboratory that does high-end work, provides great service, and maintains excellent relationships with our clients,” says Eddi von Schlichting, a removables specialist and the founder of Interchrome.
Eddi von Schlichting first took a job at a laboratory in Charleston, West Virginia. However, he found that it was an ordinary, production-oriented laboratory that did not emphasize excellence. So he began searching for the type of environment that he had initially sought when he moved to the US.
Eventually, he found a laboratory in Virginia that was more suitable. His brother, Benni, joined him in 2004, and it was there that they met Forgeng, a dentist’s son who had worked at several laboratories.
In 2009, ready to venture out on his own, Eddi von Schlichting and his wife, Lisa, opened Interchrome. They embraced CAD/CAM from the beginning. They initially bought the Zirkograph, a small copy mill from Zirkonzahn, and in 2010, Eddi visited the company’s offices in Atlanta, Georgia. Early the following year, he met Zirkonzahn founder Enrico Steger at the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting and was introduced to Zirkonzahn’s M5 5-axis milling unit. The machine impressed him so much that he purchased one a few days later.
Interchrome’s first technician, Melanie Gurkin, was put in charge of using the new M5. Despite the fact that Gurkin had no experience with CAD/CAM she quickly mastered the M5. The team attributes this to how intuitive and user-friendly the equipment is.
“Clearly it was designed by a high-caliber technician in Enrico Steger,” Forgeng says.
Forgeng and Benni von Schlichting, both ceramists, joined Interchrome soon after that, and the laboratory now has 16 employees. They still utilize that first M5, which they say is superb for both detail and production, usually operating for 12 hours per day.
“The precision and flexibility stand out,” Benni von Schlichting says. “It’s a real workhorse. You can go from milling a single-crown restoration to a detailed Prettau® screw-retained case easily.”
Forgeng says those capabilities are in line with Interchrome’s values.
“We want dentists to be proud of what they place in their patients’ mouths,” Forgeng says. “As a laboratory, we always look for new opportunities to set us apart. This industry has become extremely competitive in the past several years, and Zirkonzahn really made us stand out. Their attention to detail and the quality and the customization ability is unmatched.”
Interchrome also utilizes Zirkonzahn’s Prettau Bridge, a full-contour, full-arch zirconia bridge.
“The ease of use, the fit, and the finish of the Prettau Bridge, from esthetics to the way you take a full-arch case that you design and it drops down in the model almost effortlessly, is just amazing,” Forgeng says.
Eddi von Schlichting adds, “We would not be able to do the zirconia work we do today if it were not for Zirkonzahn.”
Another perk of working with a company founded by a technician of Steger’s caliber is using Zirkonzahn’s coloring techniques for full-contour zirconia.
“With Zirkonzahn, the approach is more like layering a restoration or a crown,” Forgeng says. “It is more of a custom shade than just a generic puck or dipping technique. It is exactly how Steger does his work: over the top, custom, full esthetics in mind.”
The partnership with Zirkonzahn has allowed Interchrome to transfer those same qualities to their work. The vision that the von Schlichting brothers had when they came to the US, and that Forgeng had when he first entered the field, is now a reality.
The CAD/CAM System 5-TEC by Zirkonzahn was designed to satisfy all needs of the dental technician. The 5+1-axes 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. This makes the milling unit upgradable according to the technician’s wishes at any time (e.g., wet processing) and ensures maximum safety for the future. The complete system is ideal for those who want to provide their laboratories with state-of-the-art devices at unmatched value for money.
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