New Energy Behind Sagemax’s High-Quality Products
Sagemax Bioceramics, Inc., is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of zirconia for dental CAD/CAM systems. The company was founded in 2006 near Seattle in Federal Way, Washington, and its manufacturing, R&D, logistics, and national and international sales are all based in the United States.
Ed Hafkey and Sean Sexton, Key Account Managers for the United States, provide product knowledge and support to all US dealers and their customers/laboratories.
IDT sat down with Hafkey and Sexton to discuss the company’s history, new products, and even more highlights for the dental laboratory.
Inside Dental Technology (IDT): The past few years have been eventful for Sagemax, with the move from a distribution model to launching some exciting new products with the introduction of the NexxZr® T Multi and NexxZr®+ Multi materials. How much can you draw on the Sagemax history, and what makes the company special now?
Ed Hafkey: The company’s DNA is 100% dental zirconia. Since 2016, the core competence is raw powder treatment and high-end production technology for dental medical devices out of zirconia. Due to continuous developments in recent years, various types of yttria-stabilized zirconia with different proportions of cubic and tetragonal phases are available today. Sagemax has made a major contribution to these development steps and is therefore considered one of the leading dental zirconia manufacturers. Sagemax zirconium discs are created from the best raw powders available to achieve the highest possible quality and esthetics.
Sean Sexton: The Sagemax development team has over 16 years of experience in preparing and processing zirconia powders. In the daily laboratory production of esthetic all-ceramic restorations, the goal is to copy the visual effect of the vital tooth and restore the physical properties. From the zirconia crown to the implant restoration made of zirconia, todays NexxZr portfolio offers the right esthetics for all dental needs.
IDT: What is your goal as Key Account Manager, and what is your dental expertise?
Hafkey: I have spent over 20 years working in many aspects of the dental laboratory business. Today, as a Key Account Manager, I help our partners and dealers with key product features and correct processing. At the same time, I ensure a smooth Sagemax product integration in each CAD/CAM laboratory.
With experience from a laboratory technician’s perspective and a manufacturer representative’s position, my goal is to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction when using our dental materials.
Sexton: I lean on my 9 years of dental experience as a digital CAD/CAM sales specialist, assisting customers with overall digital processes, including materials. We at Sagemax are not just selling a disc—our goal is to increase laboratory productivity and ease of use for our customers. That complements Ed’s experience as a laboratory owner very well. If you consider Ed and I as a team, I don’t know if there are any other two people who can offer what we do.
IDT: How do you increase productivity and ease of use?
Sexton: Everything starts with the current laboratory’s situation and their individual targets. Most common is the target to increase revenue using fewer resources and materials. We analyze milled indications, all working steps, and total turnaround time, and come up with a material and product-mix that saves more time or decreases stock costs.
The ease of use is ensured by intuitive product color coding, QR scannable information on boxes, direct access to IFU on the box, and a powerful website with all relevant information at one glance. If laboratories want to learn more, they are welcome to contact us.
IDT: In such a crowded market, what makes Sagemax zirconia a unique product offering?
Hafkey: The zirconia market is really crowded today. Zirconia price discounts and the amount of zirconia layers are dominating features in online and print advertisements. Sometimes it is not easy to make the right decision as a laboratory owner.
We believe in and strive for our three pillars of laboratory success:
1. High quality products: Products are made in the United States and have high-end production processes in place—including the blending of our own powders. That separates us from anyone who buys their powders pre-blended. This is why we achieve the outcomes we do for those products; it really comes down to the manufacturing process: the traceability of every ingredient, every step, every person involved, and every quality control checkpoint.
2. Easy product integration: Sagemax provides intuitive online tools for CAD integration (3Shape DME and exocad xml files) and sintering furnace programs (generic in IFU plus customized for several furnaces) combined with onsite support in laboratories.
3. Availability: Seven strong dealers ensure availability all over the United States with easy access and fast shipments included. We train the dealer sales teams (inside and filed) and are present at all big events and shows.
IDT: Let’s talk about the products themselves. Your newest zirconia is Sagemax NexxZr T Multi—what makes that special?
Sexton: All zirconia is not created equal. There are different powders, different processes, etc. NexxZr T Multi is a game changer—a multilayer for multiple indications!
Hafkey: A customer recently told me they could not believe that a multilayer zirconia could have 1,170 MPa of strength. T Multi is a great product. It is stronger and more esthetic, with a shade range of 20 A-D colors. The price-to-performance ratio is one of a kind.
Sexton: Perhaps the most important factor for us is to ensure that the proper sintering parameters are being utilized. The sintering process is so critical to achieving a quality result. You cannot simply use the same parameters you used with another zirconia. I am really passionate about that when I talk to customers about transitioning to our zirconia. Using our intuitive sintering information for several furnace manufacturers makes it even easier.
IDT: What are the latest product news and highlights from Sagemax?
Sexton: The latest product is a lithium disilicate press ingot: PressCeramic by Sagemax. As an analog technology, pressing may be a less popular process since the onset of digital dentistry, but we are seeing many laboratories still utilizing press ingots in their daily business. We are excited to enter that analog market and grow our customer base with zirconia and press materials.
Hafkey: The latest communication highlight is definitely our Sagemax Community. It is an online community page for dental technicians and dentists showing and sharing their clinical cases and results. Feel free to join and check out more at sagemax.com/community
IDT: Great news—thank you for the insights!