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September 2009
Volume 30, Issue 7

Biomet 3i: Global Partner in the Advancement of Implant Dentistry

When talking about BIOMET 3i—its research and development process, its highly regarded products and solutions, or its education offerings—the discussion always returns to this central point: the company’s commitment to clinician involvement. Whether chairside and one-on-one, or through clinical research and product evaluation, BIOMET 3i is asking questions—and paying attention to the answers.

“We work to stay in tune with the global marketplace,” says Maggie Anderson, President. “We try to understand unmet clinical needs or what could be improved about the products in use.” The company is keenly aware of protocols and treatment modalities on the horizon. Then they identify what products will be needed to facilitate those procedures.

A key part of this process is the “360o involvement of clinicians in the development of our products,” Anderson explains. Everyone in the company, from the executive team to the project engineers, has direct clinician interaction: clinician input is sought at the beginning of a project, through the development phases, and then through product evaluation. In addition, BIOMET 3i’s reputation for quality is built on a foundation of scientific research by global, university-based institutions that provide evidence-based research to support these products.

This commitment to clinician feedback does not stop once the products are on the market.  The company conducts thorough post-market surveillance and research on its products, often with formal opinion leader and focus panel meetings, but also through chairside observations. As Anderson says, “We take very seriously the need to continually improve our products.”

The result of these efforts is the company’s range of distinctive, highly successful products: for example, the Encode® Impression System. “Dentists are looking to provide the best technology to their patients,” Anderson says, noting that patients are becoming more educated about treatments and concerned about the final results. “Our Encode Impression System gives the dentist a highly esthetic restoration, while saving chairtime and reducing the number of appointments—all of which results in greater overall patient satisfaction.”

 The Encode System offers a number of features that are ideal for new-to-implant-dentistry general practitioners. For example, there’s no need for an implant-level impression or for complex component orders. The dentist simply makes an impression of the Encode Healing Abutment.

  Anderson continues, “Encode has very broad applications; the product is experiencing great growth. We’ve also found that the Encode System appeals to higher-end, more experienced restorative dentists because of the addition of a new zirconia custom abutment option and because it is truly customized in terms of angulation, margin, etc. The ability to make a supragingival impression and openly design an abutment is unique to the industry.”

The NanoTite™ Tapered PREVAIL® Implant is the company’s best-selling and most rapidly growing product. Along with its excellent primary stability that is key in accelerated treatment protocols, its built-in Platform Switching Feature is designed to reduce crestal bone remodeling, leading to better esthetic outcomes. “For these and a number of other reasons, this implant appeals to both surgeons and their restorative colleagues,” Anderson says.

As an example of the use of computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology, Anderson points to the popularity of the company’s CAM StructSURE® Precision Milled Bars for partially or fully edentulous patients. These are single-piece titanium frameworks that can be fitted exactly to the location of the implants. Designed to be compatible with a variety of competitive implants, they weigh less than a conventional superstructure, do not require soldering, and reduce the number of try-in appointments. These and other features make them highly beneficial to the laboratory, dentist, and patient.

From the surgical standpoint, BIOMET 3i offers the Navigator® Surgical Guidance system—instrumentation for the surgical placement of implants through surgical guides manufactured from outside sources. This system offers extensive flexibility to clinicians interested in using computed tomography (CT).“We use an open architecture system,” Anderson explains. “We want surgeons to use the planning software and surgical guide fabricators that they choose. We simply want to provide the best instrumentation on the market, and it’s been very successful.”

For the future, Anderson notes the potential in helping the clinical community achieve accelerated treatment times, allowing more patients the opportunity to choose implant therapy vs conventional treatment options. “If we want to see treatment times improve, we have to work to bring greater predictability to outcomes,” she says. “The  primary stability of the implant at time of placement is critical. Therefore, we’ll continue to work on implant designs, surface technologies, and site preservation recommendations that will help the clinician to accomplish this.”

In terms of digital dentistry, the company sees great promise in linking the various technologies that are currently standalone in their applications. “In the future, there will be ways these different technologies will interact to improve customization of patient solutions along with acceleration of treatment,” Anderson says. “Currently, customization of a product usually means more time involved; however, technological developments will allow customization and acceleration to happen concurrently.”

To help clinicians keep pace with these fast-evolving developments, BIOMET 3i devotes considerable resources to comprehensive education and information programs on a global basis. “We work hard to understand what is most important to customers in terms of their education experience,” Anderson says. Currently, most of the training is based on peer-to-peer learning experiences, but the company is expanding into distance learning as more clinicians have less time. “We also offer team-based learning experiences where both surgical and restorative specialists can come together and witness the collaborative efforts of others. In addition to learning great techniques and product options, they build stronger relationships that ultimately drive better outcomes for their patients.”

In addition to hands-on training, the company has recently launched programs and publications that reflect its commitment to working with clinicians on clinical content. A visit to their website reveals ever-expanding, practical content, from video linkage and other multimedia options, to clinical reports and presentations.

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