May 2010
Volume 31, Issue 4

3M ESPE Offers New Pathways to Quality Restorations

At 3M™ ESPE™, “there is no question in our minds that digital impressions are the wave of the future,” says Dan McMaster, Marketing Operations Manager for 3M Digital Oral Care. “As you know, 3M is the world leader in selling traditional impression material. But we recognize that with our Lava™ Chairside Oral Scanner C.O.S., we are basically replacing our own business because we know that’s where technology is going.”

According to McMaster, “The real question is how quickly the dentists are going to adopt these innovations. Even though digital systems have been on the market 20 years, they have a relatively low adoption rate—less than 10%. But there are encouraging signs, and the Lava C.O.S. system offers a couple of unique improvements over the chairside systems of the past. First, it is tightly integrated with the laboratory, allowing dentists to get the top-quality restorations they are used to. In fact, dentists are seeing improved fits and a significant reduction in their seating time, and in many cases, fewer adjustments chairside. That is one issue that is going to accelerate the technology adoption.

“Second, with the Lava C.O.S. system, you get flexibility with the restorations. With the old chairside models, you just had a choice of lower strength ceramic restorations. With the Lava C.O.S., you can get a PFM restoration, or other brands of glass ceramic materials. You can also get Lava zirconia and new Lava DVS full-contour digital crowns. This flexibility and the quality is what’s going to help make this take off in the future.”

The company has recently introduced its latest innovation: the Lava DVS full-contour digital crown. “This is a pretty amazing invention in terms of science,” McMaster says. “We have taken a zirconia restoration with a porcelain-fused-to-zirconia restoration, which is the strongest and most esthetic option. We have created a process for the labs to make both the top and bottom of the zirconia restoration digitally.” The software designs both from the full contour down to the substructure, automatically creating a crown with optimal support. “This is an innovation we want everyone to know about,” McMaster says. “We’re very excited about it. With this process—the Lava DVS material and system—there are going to be fewer variables and less room for error.”

According to McMaster, this is only the beginning. “Our Lava C.O.S. will become a gateway to the digital workflow. This is a data acquisition portal that in the future can do other things: connect to other areas of dentistry besides crown and bridge. Also, we are planning to create more workflow paths and options, along with more partner connections, so the labs and dentists can get the restorations they want even if they aren’t our restorations, and even if they don’t use all the pieces of our technology. Finally, you’re going to see all-around improved materials, which is most important for the patient. At its core, 3M is a materials company, and you can count on us to come up with new materials platforms for the future.”

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