April 2016
Volume 7, Issue 4

New Technology on Display in Chicago

By Jason Mazda

Despite blustery winter weather that halted many flights into Chicago O’Hare International Airport during the last week of February, dental professionals descended in droves upon the Windy City for the various tradeshows and meetings surrounding the Chicago Dental Society’s 151st Midwinter Meeting at McCormick Place.

The week kicked off for many with Oral Health America’s 26th Annual Gala & Benefit at the Navy Pier on Wednesday night. The following morning, the fourth annual Women in Dental Technology breakfast featured guest speaker Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP®, a New York Times bestselling author.

New CAD/CAM Products

The tradeshows began Thursday, and several significant new products were introduced.

Carestream Dental (CS 3600) and Straumann (Straumann® CARES® intraoral scanner) introduced new intraoral scanners, and 3Shape unveiled the new Digital Patient Monitoring software for its TRIOS® scanner, a development that will enable dentists to track and quantify oral health changes in a patient such as bruxism, tooth movement, and other conditions over time

New desktop scanners and improvements to existing systems also were announced. Heraeus Kulzer displayed its new impression scanner, which is not yet on the market. 3Shape announced timesaving enhancements to the 3Shape D1000 and D2000.

Both Nobel Biocare and DAL DT Technologies introduced new software — the former with the NobelDesign CAD software, and the latter with CAM software called DAL DT camX2. Exocad also revealed updates to its popular software.

Zahn Dental introduced an entirely new CAD/CAM system, Novux®, which includes a desktop scanner, two milling machines, two 3D printers, two sintering furnaces, and a curing unit.

The trend of new zirconia innovations continued. Glidewell Laboratories displayed the new BruxZir NOW pre-shaded, fully sintered zirconia. New translucent zirconias included Amann Girrbach’s Ceramill Zolid FX multilayer, Digital Dental’s Crystal Anterior, and Whip Mix’s Vericore HTX, among others.

Digital Dental, the result of a brand-new merger between Digital Dental Lab and Dental Laboratory Milling Supplies, also introduced the SinterWave M3000 microwave and the dental.mill 4D milling machine.

Other notable CAD/CAM developments included Whip Mix’s new line of VeriPrint 3D printers and Heraeus Kulzer’s announcement of a laser mill that is soon to be introduced to the market. In private discussions, Hewlitt Packard revealed it will be entering the dental market with a multi-jet fusion 3D printer by the end of this year and NextDent was showing 3D printed long-term temporary crowns, bridges, and dentures produced from its CE-certified, biocompatible materials.


In the educational sessions, FDA compliance regarding custom milled implant abutments continued to be a hot topic at multiple meetings. Bennett Napier, CAE, Executive Director of the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL), spoke on the subject at the Cal-Lab Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting at the Westin Hotel. Napier said while the FDA’s guidance has not changed since 2004, the topic came to the forefront when some individuals bean receiving letters from the FDA in early 2015.

“This industry between 2004 and now clearly looks different,” Napier said. The NADL’s position, he added, is that CAD/CAM is an effective tool to ensure improved consistency over hand milling.

Chris Brown, BSEE, lectured on the subject for Biodenta in a room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago that was so crowded that several attendees had to stand in the back. Brown listed parts of the process in which the FDA is interested:
• Implant interface (reverse engineering/fit)
• Fatigue test
• Design limitations
(correction angle, gingival heights)
• Equipment/process validation
• Design controls (“hard stops”)

Brown said a laboratory’s options, beyond hand milling, are to outsource abutments to a 510(k) cleared supplier; obtain 510(k) itself for $200,000-plus; use Sirona or 3M’s Lava (hybrids only); or use the Biodenta system as a contract manufacturer.

The focus shifted from regulatory standards to communication and team dentistry at the American Prosthodontic Society (APS) 88th Annual Scientific Meeting at the Swissötel. Todd Fridrich, CDT, Vice President of the APS, introduced himself as a “proud” dental technician. The APS is actively seeking increased technician membership.

“If you are here without your technician,” Fridrich said, “think of the team-building possibilities that lie ahead. Invite them now.”

Fridrich introduced Walter Gebhard-Achilles, CDT, as the recipient of the Kenneth D. Rudd Award for significant contributions to the advancement of prosthodontics and dental laboratory communities.

Gebhardt-Achilles, in his subsequent lecture, stressed the importance of team dentistry. He showed several cases in which a collaborative approach proved crucial, and also noted the psychological benefits for the technician.

“It motivates me to improve my skills,” he said.

Skills were the focus of Jensen Education Day, just a few floors below the APS meeting at the Swissötel on Friday. Keynote lectures were delivered by Don Cornell and Brian Vance, DDS; Steve Anderson; and Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT. Pizzi and other top technicians held workshops throughout the day.

For the first time, the entire Jensen session was available for remote viewing via a live webcast, which was likely helpful for some people who did not make the trip to Chicago due to the weather. By Saturday, however, temperatures were in the 50s and the sun was shining brightly before finally setting on another productive week of midwinter dental meetings.

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