SLM Technology Helps Spain Native’s 2-Year-Old Business Thrive
Argen Digital saves time, produces high-quality substructures
José Luis Banos did not intend to make the US his permanent home when he traveled here from Spain 16 years ago. A 26-year-old dental technician at the time, Banos simply wanted to improve his grasp of English as it pertained to dental technology.
“An English-speaking dentist would ask me for a crown, and I thought I had to go to Burger King,” Banos says with a laugh.
During his 2 years in the dental laboratory technology program at McFatter Technical College in Davie, Florida, Banos met his wife, Monica, and he decided to stay in the Sunshine State. The couple now has 2 daughters, Andrea and Natalia, and Banos operates a successful laboratory in Sunrise, Florida, called Dentprosth Digital. Banos also serves as an assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine.
Banos spent several years working in dentists’ offices and then opened his laboratory 2 years ago. He was able to easily incorporate a digital workflow into his production process from the start rather than undergoing the difficult and disruptive transition to digital that many laboratories have experienced. His wife manages most of the digital work, such as scanning, while Banos handles the ceramics. They specialize in anterior and implant cases.
“My goal is to combine digital precision with fine craftsmanship and art to produce quality esthetics and functionality,” Banos says. “I always recommend to technicians that they learn to work manually first so that they have the necessary expertise when they eventually work in front of a computer screen. Technology is very important to us because you can do amazing work in less time. This gives technicians more time for family and friends, and also more time to attend educational events and further their training.”
One of the keys to his laboratory’s successful start, Banos says, was a partnership with Argen Corporation. He was one of the first technicians to purchase a scanner from Argen when he bought the 3Shape D810, and he participates in beta testing with Argen Digital on product improvement and development projects. He does 95% of his outsourcing—mostly single-unit PFMs—with Argen Digital, which fabricates the metal copings using SLM.
“Working with Argen is like having a whole group of employees for free,” Banos says. “I have control of my cases from here to Argen’s headquarters in California. I can talk to them like a family. If I have an issue that needs to be resolved, I can call any technician or executive at Argen, and they listen to me and take quick action.”
Argen Digital’s selective laser melting (SLM) technology fabricates metal copings from non-precious noble (25% palladium) and high noble alloys. Substructures are 95% finished at the Argen facility, leaving technicians such as Banos to apply only the finishing touches. Turnaround time is less than 2 days, including shipping, provided the design file is received by the product’s specified cutoff time.
“You use CAD for the case and submit to Argen. When you get the case back, you close the margins and apply the porcelain,” Banos says. “That’s it. The bulk of the work is completed by Argen. They do a great job.
“We have improved immensely since partnering with Argen. I feel that Argen is part of my business, and I am part of the Argen business.”
Banos says Argen SLM crowns are of the highest quality and that the feedback he gets from dentist clients is extremely positive.
“It is a clean, pure metal. You do not have any contamination from a torch or anything like that,” Banos says. “With cast copings, cracks or bubbles can infiltrate the cast metal, issues that a technician will notice. With an Argen SLM coping, the quality of the metal inside is better. When dentists try the frames, they remark that there are no flakes or anything inside. It is one solid piece.”
Thanks in part to Argen, Dentprosth Digital is thriving just 2 years after it opened, making Banos glad that his serendipitous path brought him to Florida.
“Owning my own laboratory has been beautiful,” Banos says. “We are fortunate to have built a successful and thriving dental laboratory in a short time.”
Argen Digital leads the industry with the widest range of innovative products, from selective laser melting and custom abutments to zirconia, created to help the dental laboratory benefit from the advantages that digital technologies have to offer.
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