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Here and Now
New initiatives and digital innovations.
On this side of the pond, new advances in digital dental technology continue to emerge during the third quarter of 2010—but they are just a precursor to what lies ahead when the 34th International Dental Show (IDS) opens its doors on March 22, 2011 in Cologne, Germany. More than 100,000 dental professionals from around the globe will see new product offerings that reflect further integration of digital platforms, expansion of digital communication protocols, more competition in the digital intra- and extra-oral impression-scanning arena, and digitization of removable prosthetics. And attendees might even get a peek at 3-D printing of ceramic substructures and restorations.
Here are some highlights of the latest developments introduced in the past 2 months:
Intraoral Impression Scanning
The open-architecture IOS FastScan™ intraoral digital scanner has advanced from prototype to production and proved successful in beta testing, according to a joint press release from Glidewell Laboratories (www.glidewelldental.com) and IOS Technologies Inc (www.ios3d.com). The laser-line scanner captures 40 mm of tooth structure in a single pass, eliminating the need to move the wand in the mouth. Rather, the clinician holds the wand still while the camera inside the wand traverses its length.
The FastScan also is capable of capturing data from a physical impression. Once the data is captured, the modeling software creates a virtual model that can be sent to the laboratory along with a prescription. Laboratories using the Dental CAD software can mark the margin, ditch the die, and transmit the data file to a milling or 3-D printing solution to create a physical model.
Be on the lookout for one or more additional digital intraoral impression-taking scanners to launch later this year.
Although Objet Geometries Ltd (www.objet.com) is new to the dental technology market, it is well-known for its 3-D printing solutions in the automotive, medical, and hearing aid industries. Working with the R&D team from Glidewell Laboratories (www.glidewelldental.com) and 3Shape (www.3shape.com), a manufacturer of 3-D impression and model scanning systems, the company has perfected its Eden line of 3-D printers to produce custom-printed physical models and wax patterns. The Eden 3-D printer’s open-architecture platform integrates with the 3Shape Dental System 2010 CAD software to provide a digital design-to-production workflow for restoration manufacture from the intraoral or impression scan to CAD design, 3-D model output, and final CAM-milled manufacture. 3Shape’s CAMbridge™ software module bridges the gap between design and manufacture by automatically placing and orienting the designs for optimal printing efficiency.
The company’s software also supports intraoral scan data from the IOS FastScan (IOS Technologies Inc), Cadent iTero™ (Cadent Inc, www.cadentinc.com), and Lava™ Chairside Oral Scanner (3M ESPE, www.3mespe.com) so that laboratories that own a 3Shape scanner can now produce models (Figure 1 and Figure 2) on the Objet Eden using 3Shape CAD software.
The ultra-thin layer, high-resolution Eden260V™ printer (Figure 3) can operate unattended for a continuous 72-hour period and is expected to sell for approximately $100,000, according to Objet. It is designed to produce printed models that have smooth, durable surfaces with fine detail and surface finish. Glidewell announced its decision to use the Objet 260V for internal model- and wax-form production and plans to work with Objet in the future to develop additional printing solutions.
Also on the 3-D printing front, Solidscape Inc (www.solid-scape.com) has expanded into the Chinese dental market. A manufacturer of affordable, desktop 3-D printing systems, Solidscape gained distribution rights in China by signing an agreement with Hainan Giking Technology Co Ltd (www.giking.net). The 3-D printing technology will be welcomed in laboratories producing restorations for local patients, according to the president of Hainan Giking. Solidscape’s open-architecture 3-D printers are designed for small- to medium-sized laboratories for printing wax forms for casting crowns, bridges, copings, and other dental restorations.
With the V3.80 software upgrade, Sirona Dental Systems (www.sirona.com) has provided its inLab 3-D users with access to Biogeneric software technology. The software automatically designs an individually-customized restoration (Figure 4), based on patient morphology rather than pre-existing tooth anatomy databases. It can interpret the patient’s intact tooth structure and then predict the morphology of the tooth that is being restored with a crown, veneer, inlay, onlay, or anatomically-sized bridge.
Biogeneric software features a multilayer design mode that takes an anatomically-sized bridge design and automatically separates it into two components—the framework core and the facing for milling. It can also automatically configure the minimum wall thickness of the materials and ensures the two components fit together after milling and sintering. The software can design veneers with a thickness as low as 300 mm and also features buccal bite registration to register preparation and antagonist models together, eliminating the need for bite registration material. It supports VITABlocs® RealLife (MC XL only) from Vident (www.vident.com) for esthetic anterior restorations and Telio CAD temporary bridge material (Ivoclar Vivadent, www.ivoclarvivadent.com).
Expanded Digital Solutions
Biomet 3i (www.biomet3i.com) will now provide an expanded suite of CAD/CAM indirect and implant solutions, in collaboration with Renishaw plc (www.renishaw.com), a manufacturer of in-lab scanning and milling systems. With the Renishaw scanner and 3i incise CAD software, laboratories can access a wide range of milling options, including 3i incise copings and frameworks in zirconia (Figure 5). Clinicians will also be able to offer patients precision copy-milled implant bars, once the company receives 510(k) approval for sale in the United States. Those using the ProceraForte® scanner (Nobel Biocare, www.nobelbiocare.com) can also gain access to these expanded offerings with 3i incise CAD software.
Soon Nobel Biocare will release NobelConnect, an Internet-based dental team integration solution. NobelConnect provides the entire implant team, including the dental laboratory, with a virtual data-sharing platform and service center for efficient and secure interdisciplinary communication as well as expert review of diagnostics and treatment planning. While virtually connected through NobelConnect, laboratories using the NobelProcera system with NobelClinician, surgical guided software for implant treatment, will be able to exchange treatment plans seamlessly. The sharing of large data files, including those from imaging centers and radiologists, will advance the treatment-planning phases and enable predictable restorative solutions.