Glidewell’s Restorative-Driven Implant Solutions: Simple, Convenient, Affordable
Through its Inclusive® line of restorative-driven implant products and services, Glidewell Laboratories offers many options for clinicians seeking to incorporate implant treatment into their practice and recently developed a complete implant treatment package. “Being a lab of our size, one of the things we know well is how to maximize production efficiency, so when we developed our complete implant solution, we took a step back and asked ourselves one simple question: What is the most efficient way to deliver quality implant treatment to patients?” recalls Greg Minzenmayer, chief operating officer for the dental laboratory. “We did not consider whether the process was self-contained, as in an implantologist’s office, or if it was being done in a referral team approach,” he adds, “we only looked at what would be the most efficient process for the patient.”
The company’s answer was to create the Inclusive® Tooth Replacement Solution, an all-in-one implant treatment package for missing teeth that provides patient-specific customization and soft-tissue management. By preplanning the case, either digitally or from a stone model, Glidewell is able to provide a total solution in a single package. Included with the solution are a surgical/prosthetic guide, drills, implant, surgical cover screw, custom anatomic healing abutment, custom temporary abutment with a BioTemps® provisional crown and a matching custom impression coping, as well as a prescription for the final matching restoration. The Inclusive Tooth Replacement Solution provides clinicians with resources for every possibility because, as Glidewell Laboratories’ Director of Clinical Technologies Bradley C. Bockhorst, DMD, says, “Clinicians cannot always predict what the surgery will uncover. Whether it’s a two-stage approach, a single-stage approach, or immediate loading, the surgeon has the necessary components to successfully proceed with the case.”
Glidewell believes that its ability to use digital technology to preplan implant cases and provide unique solutions that help its customers satisfy their patients’ desire for immediate gratification has been an important factor in the success of its implant division. “The industry is well aware of the innovative solution provided by the combination of cone beam CT and digital planning software. Today, however, the technology to follow is 3-D intraoral scanning of implants,” says Minzenmayer, adding that this is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of the lab’s implant division. Combining intraoral scanning and implant scanning abutments with lab-based CAD/CAM enables the lab to provide a complete 3-D solution that allows its customers to expand the indications of use for their intraoral scanners, Minzenmayer explains, adding that this allows for a completely digital restorative solution that does not rely on conventional models. The lab confidently offers this as a standard option to its customers for most major implant systems.
Looking specifically at dental CAD/CAM, the lab notes that its impact has never been more apparent than in the field of implantology. According to the lab, today’s CAD/CAM technologies enable CDTs to custom design and produce patient-specific restorations for approximately the same cost as stock abutments. “Stock implant abutments are generic in design and are made in average sizes to fit the most situations possible. By their nature, stock abutments are almost always a compromise compared to patient-specific abutments,” says Bockhorst. He explains that to make a natural-looking restoration on an implant, one must start with a natural-shaped foundation, adding that the natural shape of teeth, as opposed to stock abutments, is not round. Using CAD/CAM, the lab can more closely mimic nature and produce more realistic restorations. By partnering with Glidewell Laboratories through the Certified Inclusive® Custom Abutment Laboratory program or incorporating CAD design in-house, Minzenmayer says, any lab can provide the lab’s line of Inclusive Custom Implant Abutments to their customers for costs similar to stock abutments.
Glidewell goes above and beyond to make sure clinicians who use its implant products and services are equipped for clinical success by providing them with three main avenues for pursuing educational opportunities and support. In addition to offering free educational material on its website, www.glidewellcedental.com, the lab publishes two magazines, which are also available at no cost to clinicians. Chairside magazine offers broad content that covers all aspects of dentistry, while Inclusive magazine focuses specifically on implant technologies. The lab also runs the Glidewell International Technology Center, a state-of the-art center it opened in 2010 that is equipped to provide affordably priced continuing education courses covering all aspects of digital dentistry as well as hands-on implant training. Up-to-date course listings can be viewed at www.glidewellce.com.
Glidewell believes the future is very bright for implant dentists and their patients, pointing out that research has shown that most implants available today enjoy success rates for osseointegration that are in the high 90th percentile, and that treatment is very predictable. “Digital technologies have made patient-specific restorations the standard, narrowing the vast number of choices a dentist must make, and allowing them to standardize and simplify their restorative procedures,” says Bockhorst. According to the lab, this documented clinical predictability and process standardization and simplification has led to the beginnings of a commoditization of the implants themselves, which has prompted more implant manufacturers to enter the market, adding to competitive pricing. As costs come down and companies continue to simplify restorative procedures, the lab predicts more dentists will offer the service and more patients will be able to afford care.
Recognizing a changing market, Minzenmayer says that Glidewell has shifted its focus from the individual implant to being a total restorative solution provider and improving the process of delivering treatment. The lab reports that it has plans to expand the Inclusive Tooth Replacement Solution with a multi-unit application for up to full-arch restorations. According to the lab, this is in keeping with its successful efforts to bundle its products into comprehensive solutions. “We have combined multiple digital technologies to form an integrated digital solution that provides an array of tools to further improve communication, treatment planning, CAD design and production of digital restorations,” says Minzenmayer. He adds that Glidewell’s ultimate goal is to continue to provide implant solutions as an all-inclusive package at a competitive price, keeping implant treatment simple, convenient and affordable for patients.
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