Using exceptional technology to produce exceptional work
When it comes to business, compromising value and quality is not an option for Gary Killgo, CDT. He demands high standards of himself, his staff, his suppliers, and his clients. His approach is much like an architect planning the construction of a building, the foundation is built and supported by highly skilled technicians, who are not only outfitted with the best equipment and materials industry suppliers have to offer, but also receive the best training possible. Clientele who fit the laboratory’s core mission of using the best quality to produce the best quality are then sought and brought into the fold. If a dentist client cannot supply the quality impression his technicians need to replicate the exacting form, fit, and function of a dental restoration built under magnification, then that client is let go, even if it is the company’s largest account. To ensure his employees are receiving the best hands-on education and training, Killgo concepted and worked with manufacturers to create a unique reverse triangle pod arrangement for his bench setup at a time when laboratories and manufacturers were only thinking of benches in rows.
Killgo had grown up in a dental laboratory environment. His father owned and operated a small laboratory in Georgia and Killgo watched as his brother at the age of 13 worked alongside his father in the laboratory. It was a career path he had no interest in pursuing; Killgo’s dream was to become an architect. That is, until his high school graduation, when Killgo’s father offered to pay for his dental technology schooling, give him gas money, and pay the insurance on his Mach 1 Mustang. The offer was too tempting to pass up. He enrolled in a nearby program and as he was completing his studies, he realized this career path could be much more than the traditional buyer/vendor relationship he had been exposed to. If operated as a business, there could be incredible opportunity. It was not until Killgo landed a job as manager of a laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia that he was able to apply his business theories. He aligned the laboratory with Dawson and Pankey, working closely with both institutes, and grew the small three-person laboratory to a large 50+-employee business.
In 1981 Killgo opened his own laboratory in Tucker, Georgia, with his brother, Don, as his partner and continued to practice his business philosophy. Not willing to compromise value for dollars, Killgo bucked the status quo again and set his prices 20% above what any other laboratory in the area was charging and would only work with dentists who appreciated the high quality and customer service the laboratory provided its clients. In an era when metal-based restorations dominated, he dabbled with closed system scanning and CAD design for smaller cases and later tried the outsource model for big brand zirconia-based restorative solutions using the 3Shape scanner. “We sent cases all over the country looking for a supplier that could meet our quality standards,” says Killgo. “It was very frustrating because we didn’t have full control of the case and were never satisfied with the end result.”
The only solution was to invest in a system that demonstrated its ability to meet the quality standards Killgo demanded along with the open architecture he wanted. It wasn’t until Amann Girrbach introduced its Ceramill Motion milling solution that Killgo felt confident that new developments in milling technology could deliver a product that would withstand the microscope inspection rigors of his production and quality control processes. He had met and worked with the Amann family for many years and bought all of their model and articulation systems prior to the company opening a division in the US in the mid-2000s. The company’s commitment to precision engineered quality and customer service matched his own. “When Amann Girrbach came to my laboratory to show me the quality they were getting with a desktop mill, I was impressed,” says Killgo. “We had experimented with laboratories using much larger milling units and they couldn’t come close to matching the precision the Ceramill Motion could produce.”
Killgo admits there was a learning curve as the laboratory began converting analog processes to digital, but it is a process that Amann Girrbach helped them with every step of the way. “It’s not about losing manual techniques and the technical knowledge because you still need those,” says Killgo. “It’s a matter of taking that knowledge and skill set and transferring it to an automated process.” Once that was mastered, he and his technicians began analyzing the Ceramill system and their internal processes to bring further value to the products they were manufacturing and the services they offered. “We always look at what we are doing in terms of our customers,” says Killgo. “What can we do to shorten chairtime or make the patient’s visit to the dental office easier? ”
Last year, Killgo invested in the Ceramill Motion 2 5-axis wet and dry milling unit. Today, 80% of all restorative services Georgia Dental Laboratory manufactures are metal-free, which keeps the Ceramill Motion 2 unit operating 24/7, producing zirconia and wax single copings, full-contour restorations and patient-specific implant abutments to full roundhouse lower arch hybrid frameworks. Ceramill Motion 2 has a modular design that allows for easy upgrading to use glass ceramics and lithium disilicate like IPS e.max®. Killgo only uses Ceramill Zolid zirconia, wax, and PMMA milling materials to ensure the quality and esthetics of the finished restoration and is eager to try Amann Girrbach’s new Sintron® chrome cobalt milling material, which was introduced at the IDS this year. “It is exciting to see what you can do with these milling machines,” says Killgo. “We can bring unprecedented precision and esthetics to every case we handle, especially implant cases.” Several of Killgo’s clients have adopted intraoral scanning technology and are sending iTero® and TRIOS® scans directly to the laboratory, which only increases the internal efficiency and productivity of case handling.
“This industry is undergoing rapid changes that we need to embrace as positive for the precision and accuracy the dental team can deliver to the patient,” says Killgo. “Advances in technology enable laboratories a much higher level of communication with clients and offers laboratories the potential to become valuable partners in case management and execution.”
Disclaimer: The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dental Technology.
Ceramill Motion 2 Mill
Amann Girrbach’s Ceramill Motion 2 mill, developed exclusively for digital dentistry, is a compact, upgradeable, hybrid dental CNC machine that combines five-axis milling and grinding technology in both wet and dry modes. This flexibility allows dental laboratories of all sizes to quickly and easily fabricate exceptionally precise esthetic restorations in-house. The Motion 2 can handle full-contour crowns and bridges, inlays, onlays, veneers, abutments, zirconia frameworks, and full-arch restorations, and its modular platform delivers maximum flexibility and scalability to handle new materials and indications.
For more information, contact:
Amann Girrbach America