Dental Wings Laser Milling
Advanced manufacturing technology for the dental industry
Over the past several decades, the prosthetic components used in restorative dentistry have been increasingly produced in part or completely using computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques. Despite recent improvements, the dental industry has approached practical limits in what computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling can produce chairside or in a dental laboratory; hence, a paradigm-changing technology is necessary to move digital dentistry forward: Dental Wings Laser Milling (DWLM).
DWLM is based on a process called laser ablation, whereby a series of very short high-intensity laser pulses locally vaporize extremely small amounts of material. Laser ablation removes material with great precision without adversely affecting the material properties of the final restoration.
Dental Wings’ novel approach applies laser ablation to complex 3D dental restorations such as inlays, onlays, crowns, bridges, and veneers. DWLM combines 3D scanning with laser ablation into a single machine to execute what is known as “closed loop” control—the machining path is periodically adjusted by 3D scanning the restoration during the process, and this information is compared with the desired design. Essentially this is full-contour quality control to verify that what was designed is what was produced. In contrast, most CNC milling systems operate “open loop” and do not perform in-process 3D quality control.
Laser ablation has several very favorable characteristics for dental applications, including the ability to machine a range of common restorative materials including composites, glass ceramics, and oxide ceramics; the ability to process glass ceramics in the crystallized state; and the ability to create extremely fine details and thin structures. DWLM is able to work with proven dental materials that are trusted worldwide, a key factor that clearly differentiates it from other emerging technologies like 3D printing.
Benefits of DWLM can be seen in restoration quality, ease of use, and economics. The process can produce restorations with features and resolution simply not possible with conventional CNC machining or even 3D printing. This is possible because the diameter of the laser beam is one tenth the diameter of even the smallest commonly used dental burs and can easily create extremely fine features and thin walls. In addition, the DWLM system is easy to use: select the open .STL file of the restoration, insert the block, and push start. Finally, the cost of ownership should be a fraction of conventional mills since there are no tools, burs, spindles, coolant, compressed air, or special enclosures required. Moreover, due to advances in industrial laser technology, the laser should last the life of the entire device.
A disruptive technology, DWLM enables solutions, workflows, business models, and therapies that are simply not possible with existing techniques. In this regard, DWLM will offer advances in combining dental design with material science to create fully digital restorations with material and optical properties unique to each patient, economically and efficiently. This is the kind of innovation Dental Wings aspires to bring to the industry, and we are well on our way.
· DWLM offers current and future benefits not possible with existing technologies used in restorative dentistry.
· Laser ablation, the basis of DWLM, is a robust, proven technology able to processpopular dental materials.
· DWLM is a simple, powerful, andeconomical production technology for dentists, labs, and production centers.